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Murder by Magic: Twenty Tales of Crime and the Supernatural    edited by Rosemary Edghill order for
Murder by Magic
by Rosemary Edghill
Order:  USA  Can
Aspect, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

I like anthologies. Like a box of chocolates, they offer variety and unexpected delights. Short stories also offer quick reads, just right for a break from housework or homework. ('I'll just read one before starting the dishes'.) A big advantage, too, is the opportunity to check out different writers that one may not yet have read. And finally, for a person who loves mysteries as well as fantasy, Murder by Magic offers an irresistible blend of the two genres.

The writers in this selection are obviously good at their craft, although I didn't like every story; but then I don't always like every tale in any anthology. Here, stories range from fantasy settings in worlds of magic to other planets to our own mundane world. A young woman gifted with witch-talent is victimized by others in her village. A loving aunt goes undercover - as a cat - to seek out the truth of her sister's murder. Two schoolchildren in Victorian London defy an ancient evil with the help of their avian allies. A young woman charged with an awesome responsibility to help safeguard the world is determined to find the killer of her twin who shared that responsibility. Organized crime members find the tables turned as they themselves are targeted for assassination by a mysterious, uncanny force. These are only some of the fabulous characters and ingenious crimes you will encounter in Murder by Magic.

For an entertaining, thought-provoking tour to amazing places, I highly recommend this anthology. As an additional treat, the editor gives a brief overview of the history of this blended genre, which is older than one might think. And if your taste is whetted by the gems offered here, you might want to check out other writers such as Randall Garrett, whose Lord Darcy operates in an alternate universe where magic rules. Much to my delight, his protagonists are familiar to fans of Nero Wolfe. Also worthy of attention is the Thieves' World series first brought to us by Robert Asprin. So, open Murder by Magic, hold onto your hats and take a spin through a universe of possibilities.

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