Read Murder and Magic by Randall Garrett Online


This is the first Ace printing.Cover Artist: Robert AdragnaContents:1 • The Eyes Have It • [Lord Darcy] • (1964) • novelette by Randall Garrett 63 • A Case of Identity • [Lord Darcy] • (1964) • novella by Randall Garrett 158 • The Muddle of the Woad • [Lord Darcy] • (1965) • novella by Randall Garrett 243 • A Stretch of the Imagination • [Lord Darcy] • (1973) • short storyThis is the first Ace printing.Cover Artist: Robert AdragnaContents:1 • The Eyes Have It • [Lord Darcy] • (1964) • novelette by Randall Garrett 63 • A Case of Identity • [Lord Darcy] • (1964) • novella by Randall Garrett 158 • The Muddle of the Woad • [Lord Darcy] • (1965) • novella by Randall Garrett 243 • A Stretch of the Imagination • [Lord Darcy] • (1973) • short story by Randall Garrett These four stories were first collected in this volume in 1979....

Title : Murder and Magic
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780441545407
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 266 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Murder and Magic Reviews

  • Miriam
    2019-06-16 08:24

    Although this is listed here as Lord Darcy #2, it is first in the collected Lord Darcy, so I read it first. From pub dates, it looks like all but the last (and weakest) story were published before the novel Too Many Magicians, so the order in the collected volume seems as correct as it could be without breaking the stories loose from the books in which they were originally published. This book includes four stories:The Eyes Have ItA Case of IdentityThe Muddle of the WoadA Stretch of the ImaginationThe first three are fairly long and complex and could probably have been stretched into full-length novels had Garrett been that kind of guy, but no, he is profligate with his imagination, as well as being a fairly concise writer. This is fortunate in this particular case because the stories were originally published separately in periodicals so there has to be a certain amount of reiteration of the alternate history, who the characters are, how magic works, etc. Garrett handled this smoothly and briefly and it only began to irritate me a little in the third story.Garrett is obviously inspired by Sherlock Holmes, and the setting is superficially similar to late Victorian England as far as clothes, technology, manners etc are concerned; however, the stories are specifically dated as taking place in the years they are published, in the 1960s. In this alternate history the Plantagenets still rule England, as well as an Empire which includes France, part of North America, and some other bits and pieces (but mostly not the territories that actually comprised the British Empire). My favorite stories were the middle two, when the wider political scene becomes important to the plot, rather than just being added color. Our protagonist, Lord Darcy, is a bit too much the Platonic form of the detective -- he is brilliant, confident, observant, knows all sorts of obscure information, is physically fit and attractive, an excellent swordsman, can climb buildings and pick locks, is a wealthy nobleman and highly trusted by the royals, and never even loses his temper. I would like to see him struggle a bit more in the full-length novel, either with the case or with some sort of personal difficulty. Darcy's assistant, Sean, is saved from being a Watson by the fact that he is the one doing all the magic. Darcy is not himself a magician, which I think was a smart move on the author's part.Overall quite fun. Undemanding but engaging.

  • colleen the convivial curmudgeon
    2019-06-22 13:37

    A collection of four short stories starring Lord Darcy - Chief Forensic Investigator for the Duke of Normandy - set in an alternate England. Sort of has an air of Victorian kind of stories, though it's set in the 1960s.In this world magic is very ceremonial - scientific and prescribed rituals - and Lord Darcy is helped in his cases by Master Sean O Lochlainn, an Irish sorcerer who uses said magic to help in the detecting.The stories had a Sherlockian vibe, relying heavily of accumulating facts and data, but also with a detective who was able to see connections that others missed. But, like the Sherlock tales, I found them interesting but not riveting - perhaps because character development is a bit scarce, and Darcy doesn't have the same odd quirk and charm as the renowned detective.I liked 'The Muddle of the Woad' the best, as it had the most intricate plot and cast of characters, and 'A Stretch of the Imagination' the least, because it was the shortest and sort of shifted the focus from Darcy's pursuit of clues and truth to him being more a sort of detective savant, which I didn't really like that much. (I also didn't like how Sean, who was a good compatriot in the other three stories, became a sort of goggle-eyed admirer.)'The Eyes Have it' and 'A Cast of Identity' are on equal footing between the other two.

  • Brian
    2019-06-17 10:30

    It was okay. He created an interesting world where the definitions of science and religion are intertwined with magic. However the crimes and resolutions were pretty rote. The magic wasn't all that interesting and was described in a fairly clinical way. If you're into forensics, you might like this, as he basically replaced modern forensics with magical forensics, and made it a book. The characters were essentially Sherlock and Watson, with new names, in a different time period.

  • prcardi
    2019-05-29 11:39

    Storyline: 2/5Characters: 2/5Writing Style: 3/5World: 3/5I'm prejudiced against both the short story format and murder mysteries, thus it was a welcome surprise to enjoy this as much as I did. The stories are obviously supposed to bring to mind Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but Randall Garrett doesn't attempt to out-Sherlock Sherlock Holmes. Instead he depicts his murders in an alternate history English empire of the 1960s where sorcery is embraced by the Church and civil administration. The most pleasant aspect of the collection is the lack of ostentation. Our esteemed investigator Lord Darcy is competent but no savant. The magic is descriptive and detailed without relying on sensationalism. The alternate history is presented as background rather than spectacle. This is what murder mysteries would read like in a world where England really did rule the Occident and wizardry was a regular profession. The four entries - a novelette from 1964, a novella from the same year, another novella from 1965, and a short story from 1973 - vary widely in their contribution to the Lord Darcy universe. The latest published took minutes to read, and the earliest, while longer, did not offer much by the way of plot ups and downs. The middle two were the most enjoyable, and I saw how they would have fit into magazine issues perfectly. Too often old science fiction or fantasy magazine stories are pulp. The problem with pulp is that they throw out any development and pacing so as to fit in all the action permissible in the short page limitations. This wasn't a pulp novel, and with the exception of the last short story, Garrett filled the pages with the right balance of intrigue, suspense, and world building. I have a better appreciation for magazine-era stories now for having read this.

  • Julia
    2019-06-14 11:41

    In 1199, Richard the Lionhearted died from a crossbow wound at the Seige of Chaluz, leaving his neglected English throne in the hands of his brother Prince John.At least that's one way the story goes. But what if history had gone a little differently?In the world of Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy, Richard the Lionhearted recovered from his wounds and settled down to the running of England and France. Without heirs of his own, Richard entrusted the kingdom over to Arthur, the capable son of his dead brother Geoffrey. Arthur made a brilliant marriage and expanded the kingdom until the Plantagenet Empire was the most powerful on the planet. But this is also a world where the laws of magic were codified and treated as a science. Those with the Talent are trained to be sorcerers or healers, fully licensed and sanctioned by the Church. Healers perform their work through the laying on of hands, allowing people to live longer. But superstition and distrust hasn't disappeared completely from this world, creating an underworld of hedge wizards and "black magic" users that feed off the general populace's fears. These fears are also encouraged by agents abroad.The Chief Criminal Investigator to Richard, Duke of Normandy, Lord Darcy must solve the unsolvable, while aided by Master Sean O Lochlainn. Lord Darcy is the master detective of this universe, lacking any Talent of his own, except his remarkable mind and powers of observation. Master Sean O Lochlainn is a master sorcerer with a particular interest in forensics. Lord Darcy and Master Sean work as an able team, confident in each other's special abilities.The first Lord Darcy collection, Murder and Magic, was published in 1979, but all four stories were published earlier. Each story is what would be called "fair play" murder mysteries as all the clues are provided. Master Sean provides the bulk of the magical evidence, quick to lecture on the various magical laws and how they relate to a particular situation. Lord Darcy does his own investigating and draws his own conclusions. Very often he just needs Sean to back up his suspicions.Rereading these stories, I was struck by several things. A reviewer commented on the religious overtones of the series and it's quite true. The Church is a strong component of everyday life in this universe. Priests and clerics appear as characters throughout the series. Only "The Muddle of the Woad" shows a glimpse of how they regard challenges to traditional Christian life with the Society of Albion with its claims to Druidic paganism. No Reformation is mentioned, but compared to say Keith Roberts' Pavane, there's also no reference to the Pope or Vatican in this first collection. All the same I could see how the religious references might feel overwhelming.What irked me throughout the collection were the women or lack thereof, although to his credit, there were no female murder victims. But there are also no female magic users and with the Church so heavily involved, one wonders if they're even allowed to wield magic. In "Stretch of Imagination", Damoselle Barbara allows as she has "above average" Talent, but no one asks why she is never trained, so one could see her perspective cast aside as feminine intuition, nothing more. None of the stories pass the Bechdel test either; even there are multiple female characters, they don't interact with each other.Garrett is also quite repetitive as a writer. Presumably Garrett was trying to make the stories to standalone, so he had to repeat his world's history. That meant reading about Richard's survival multiple times and he didn't vary the story all that much. He also used the same pet phrases when describing certain characters, like Lord Darcy speaking Anglo-French with an English accent or describing Master Sean as the tubby Irish sorcerer. As separate stories, it probably wasn't so bad, but taken together in one volume, the combined effect could get rather tiresome.In his lifetime, Randall Garrett published two Lord Darcy short story collections (Murder & Magic and Lord Darcy Investigates) and one novel (Too Many Magicians). All of these stories, plus several uncollected stories, were published in one volume Lord Darcy by Baen Books in 2002. Michael Kurland also published a pair of Lord Darcy books continuing the series with Ten Little Wizards and A Study in Sorcery.All told I still enjoyed this first collection. Lord Darcy has a certain undeniable charm and I love his interactions with Master Sean. Since it's the first series of stories, I'm willing to allow a certain leeway to see if Randall Garrett develops the universe further. This series both fascinates and frustrates me as a reader. I love the world and how it melds so well with the mystery genre. I intend to continue my Lord Darcy reading with the rest of the series, so we'll see if my misgivings are assuaged.

  • Joy Pixley
    2019-06-14 08:52

    The world Garrett has built is a fun concept: an England where Richard the Lion-Hearted didn't die in 1199, but founded a lasting empire, in which magic is studied like a science, and what we'd consider science is dismissed as superstitious nonsense. This setting allows for interesting new dilemmas, and we get the nostalgia of lords and horse-drawn carriages and castles to boot. The stories all feature Lord Darcy (no relation, one presumes), a classic clever and unflappable detective, and his sidekick sorcerer, Master Sean. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. The settings and interactions were amusing, the mysterious murders were sufficiently mysterious, and the secondary characters all gasped, made witty quips, or turned out to be dastardly on their proper cues. I especially liked the exploration of how people would use magic in everyday life, for security or food preservation, and it's fun to read something where magic is just a normal thing that some people have the "Talent" for (and study hard to learn) and others don't. But these stories were written in the 1960s, and it shows. Garrett was sloppy about writing conventions that most contemporary writers couldn't get away with. He employed long passages of expository narrative or dialogue to describe the world he'd so carefully, lovingly built -- the political situation of the country, who is leading it, and especially, at great length, how his detailed system of magic works -- even when these things don't directly impact the story. The dialogue is sometimes painfully on-the-nose and includes plenty of extraneous exchanges (all those extra hellos and goodbyes etc.), and the misspelled, over-the-top dialects for the lower classes are painful to read. The narrative gets repetitive, even within the same story (how many times must he remind us that Sean is tubby and Irish?). Worse, some of the mysteries are solved using information the reader didn't have: at the end, the detective introduces new evidence while explaining how he solved the case. There are hints to be sure, but at least for me, the solutions mostly came out of the blue. Maybe other readers are better detectives than I, though, and caught all the hints. That said, a day or two after finishing the book, I found myself missing the world and its characters, and would be happy to pick up another book of stories about them.

  • Taha
    2019-06-18 12:28

    Büyü ve dedektiflik kulağa ilgi çekici gelebiliyor ama pek de öyle değil aslında. Cinayetin sebebi bir büyüyse herhangi olağanüstü bir şey olabilir ve yazar bunu istediği herhangi bir nedene bağlayabilir ve olayları çözerken yine kafadan bir büyü uydurup işin içinden çıkabilir. Bu da dedektif karakterinin zekasını sorgulamanıza ve cinayeti tahmin etme girişiminizin beyhudeliğine neden olabilir. Bu yüzden bu kitapta pek aradığımı bulamadım. Zaten bu tarz hikayelerde benim kriterlerimi Agatha Christie romanları ve Sherlock Holmes serisi belirler. Onların yükselttiği çıtaya yetişebilen pek olmadı benim için şimdiye kadar.

  • Judy Hall
    2019-06-24 14:53

    I remembered Lord Darcy as Victorian fantasy. He was an alt-world Sherlock Holmes. But reading these, this is set in the 1960s. They gave the date twice. So magic kept away technology, but not all progress. It was interesting.

  • Nicolas Knight
    2019-06-23 08:40

    Great stories. Tres Hercule Poirot.The magic is mostly used to explain some of the forensics which makes it easier to get into the story and to try and figure out the mystery.The audiobook reader tried hard to do voices and tones for each character and it helped me a lot with the immersion.

  • Dj
    2019-06-11 15:38

    A series of Short Stories which are Mysteries that involve Magic in some way. The mysteries in the book are more of a Sherlock Holmes type than one where you as a reader are presented with the clues and allowed to come to your own conclusions as to who done it. They are also set in an Alternate Earth which is Magically Advanced but Technologically backward. The stories are interesting and have an appeal all their own. A fun if not deeply rewarding read.

  • Bev
    2019-06-10 13:30

    Step into another world...the world of Randall Garrett's Murder and Magic...a world where Richard the Lion-Hearted did not die at the Siege of Chaluz and the House of Plantagenet rules England and a mighty empire even in the 1960s. This is also a world where Magic is science and all the usual scientific methods are underwritten by magical laws and procedures. There is no blood-typing by is all discerned by the Law of Sympathy. There are no doctors with pills and serums and potions, but religious Healers who cure more often by the laying on of hands than by the use of herbs. And, finally, it is a world where Lord Darcy, the Chief Forensic Investigator for the Duke of Normandy moves through a very Victorian-era version of the 1960s. He is the greatest detective of his time and uses all his powers of deduction--aided by the powers of the occult.This book is comprised of four short stories that are full of the flavor of Holmes and Watson, Wolfe and Goodwin and little bit of the cloak and dagger spy trade thrown in. And, "The Muddle of the Woad" has a definite air of tribute to Lord Peter Wimsey--The Nine Tailors in particular. Instead of bell-ringing, we have a focus on woodworking. But a great many of the character names used by Sayers in the bell-ringing scenes may be found here--Masters Gotobed, Lavender, Wilderspin and Venable all tip their hats to the Sayers work. And Master Gotobed is every bit as particular about his woodworking as Harry Lavender ever was about bell-ringing. There is even evidence given by the young woman of the piece--just as Hilary Thorpe provides a vital clue to Lord Peter.Overall, Randall Garrett has given us a fine look at what the world might have been like in such an alternate history. And he mixes the best of fantasy and detective fiction to produce a very interesting collection of science fiction short stories. The mysteries are fairly straight-forward and most are fairly clued. The final (and shortest), "A Stretch of the Imagination," is the most Holmes-like with Lord Darcy appearing very much as the detective genius with admiring audience and few clues given to the reader, but it is the exception. A very entertaining book--coming in at 3 1/2 stars.

  • Nick Senger
    2019-06-04 10:49

    Start with a base of Sherlock Holmes, add a drop of Lord Peter Wimsey, stir in a healthy serving of Brother Cadfael, and season with Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell—it all adds up to the highly satisfying diet of Lord Darcy stories by Randall Garrett.Lord Darcy is the Chief Forensic Investigator for the Duke of Normandy, in an alternate history where the British Empire in the 1960s consists of England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and the New World. The Plantagenets are still in power, and the Church is still a visible and integral part of the culture.The four stories that make up this collection are enjoyable not only for the mysteries that have to be solved, but also for the sheer pleasure of exploring this world that might have been. Elevators and guns exist alongside gas lamps, carriages, sorcery, and sword-play. I loved the mixture of medieval and Victorian England, and the way the Church was such a significant part of daily life.This is exactly the kind of book I love reading for pleasure: quick moving, intelligent, imaginative, and filled with personable characters.I look forward to reading the full length Lord Darcy novel, Too Many Magicians, and the final collection of stories, Lord Darcy Investigates.

  • Octavie
    2019-05-28 15:32

    Randall Garrett réalise une description solide d'un monde où l'empire Angevin règne sur une grande partie du globe et la magie est à la fois une science et une religion. C'est la marque d'un bon écrivain que de construire une uchronie crédible malgré une base somme toute assez fragile. Il est en effet difficile de croire qu'une succession de souverains forts sur le trône d'Angleterre ait pu empêcher toute évolution sociale et politique, pour conserver jusqu'en 1960 une monarchie absolue de droit divin (dont la culture et le mode de vie se seraient figés, pour une raison qui m'échappe, durant l'équivalent de l'époque victorienne).Il s'agit de plus de nouvelles policières dans le genre "whodunit" à tendance holmésienne, avec un détective de qualité supérieure (grand, noble de maintien, portant bien l'habit et l'épée, aux capacités de déduction inégalées et au sang froid imperturbable) et son fidèle assistant (surprenamment utile pour un second couteau). Malgré la faiblesse de la dernière nouvelle, Lord Darcy reste une valeur sûre !

  • LJ
    2019-05-30 09:45

    LORD DARCY – G+Randall GarrettWelcome to an alternate world where Richard the Lion-Heart did not die in the year 1199... where magic is a science and science is an art... where the great detective Lord Darcy and the sorcerer Sean O'Lochlainn combine occult skills and brilliant deductions to bring criminals to the King's Justice and thwart those who plot against the Realm. Welcome to a world where murder may be committed by magic most foul, but crime still does not pay - as long as Lord Darcy is on the case.***In the 1960’s of an alternative universe and with elements of Nero Wolfe, Sherlock Holmes and The Man from U.N.C.L.E., you have a delightful combination of fantasy and who-done-it. The stories – The Eyes Have It, A Case of Identity, The Muddle of the Woad, and Too Many Magicians – made me laugh, and think and marvel at the talent and imagination of Randall Garrett. I shouldn’t read them back-to-back as they can get to be a bit much. If you enjoy Jasper Fforde, you might enjoy Lord Darcy as well. Great fun.

  • John Fuller
    2019-06-13 08:26

    Murder and Magic contains four stories highlighting the activities of a high-profile (i.e. royal) detective in alternate history England sometime in the 1960's. A great, intellectual read.I like the portrayal of magic as a science... the idea of being able to harness, and quantify, the power of correlation/relevance between all objects in the universe is unique and compelling. The setting is also described perfectly... to a fault. The mystery and intrigue get a 4/5 only because half the book is 'My Lord' or titles. It would be tolerable if you waited a few days between the stories... but who has the time for that. If you wondered what the opposite end of the Dresden Files literary spectrum (read: ultra-informal/hemorrhaging grammar) would be, the style used in Murder and Magic is it.

  • Joy Deane
    2019-06-17 13:44

    A set of short stories in the classical whodunit mode but set in an alternate Europe in which the laws of magic have been carefully and scientifically analysed but science is a couple of hundred years behind. Thus the detective is accompanied by a "forensic sorcerer" which leads a very interesting angle to the solving of th mysteries. The stories also have a historical romance feel to them, despite being set in the 1960s/1970s (when they were written) because of the lack of technology and the prominence of the monarchy. I enjoyed these very much, as a fan of both whodunits and fantasy.PS. I actually read this as part of the compendium "Lord Darcy". I'm not sure that "Murder and magic" is still in print on its own.

  • Patrick Lum
    2019-06-21 08:39

    This first set of Lord Darcy stories adheres rather more forcefully to the traditional detective 'investigate the crime, then gather everyone in a parlour afterwards and talk through how you solved it' narrative and suffers somewhat for it. Garrett's habit of repeatedly emphasising how this alternate history is a result of Richard the Lionheart surviving getting shot by a crossbow bolt and other somewhat repetitive issues also annoy, probably due to the original publication as individual short stories in sci-fi magazines. That said, the murders and their explanations are sound and satisfying, though not as interesting as the Napoli Express story found in Lord Darcy Investigates.

  • melo
    2019-06-02 11:40

    un investigatore di stampo holmesiano in un mondo in cui nel ventesimo secolo i plantageneti sono sempre al potere e la magia esiste, funziona e viene trattata e studiata come una scienza a tutti gli effettitre racconti divertenti, per quanto la traduzione inciampi un po' e probabilmente perda. un personaggio curioso, un intermezzo ludico tra cose più corpose, forse più profonde, ma non sempre con la stessa voglia di giocare con la storia e coi meccanismi tipici del giallo rivisitati in salsa fantasy.un bel suggerimento, l'ennesimo, trovato su il futuro è tornato

  • Julie Davis
    2019-06-05 14:39

    I enjoyed the world in this alternate history line, much along the lines of Pavane but with a much more respectful attitude toward the Church. However, I never felt that I cared about the mysteries themselves or the people in the stories. That left me with an intellectual appreciation for them but not much interest in reading more.

  • Fatbaldguy60
    2019-06-18 09:40

    Generally good light reading. When I reread it later on, though, I realized there was a lot of Nero Wolfe in this, as well as taking a good chunk of the plot of The Orient Express.

  • Alien
    2019-06-06 13:39

    I read the first story years ago and put it away. Now I started again and managed to read 3 stories. And now I'm sure: I don't like it!The idea seems rather original at first. But I was bored somehow. I could not take it seriously as a "whodunit", because the solutions to the stories are too farfetched. The writing style is quite simple and not interesting. I'm done....

  • Bob
    2019-06-08 12:49

    I remember liking this much more when I was much younger. That said, some of the world building only makes sense to someone with at least a high school education, some knowledge of history and the sources of modern medicine.

  • L.E. Doggett
    2019-06-06 11:25

    Great detective; Loved the few stories Garrett did. He set up things well, explained what was going on in the story, great actions scenes-very little actual fighting but still action.

  • Jennifer Heise
    2019-06-07 09:45

    A magical alternate history take on classic mysteries.

  • Jim
    2019-06-18 08:33

    Good stuff. I've enjoyed everything I have read by Randall Garrett.