Murder and Magic is a collection of short stories by Randall Garrett featuring his alternate history detective Lord Darcy. First published in 1979, it has been reprinted many times since. The four stories here ("The Eyes Have It", "A Case of Identity", "The Muddle of the Woad", and "A Stretch of the Imagination") are set in an alternate world whose history diverged from our own during the reign of King Richard the Lionheart.
In a world where a magic-based technology has been developed in place of our own science, Lord Darcy combines his occult skills and brilliant deductions to bring criminals to the King's Justice.
©1979 Randall Garrett (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I love this series of books, and I would have liked to recommend them whole-heartedly, but on the strength of this first volume I would have to add a warning; the performance of the reader is not up to the standard of the writing.
It would be hard to find a comparison for this blend of alternate-world fantasy and Sherlock Holmes-style whodunnit. Written with wit and affection, the book creates a modern age in which the Plantagenets are still on the throne, a little less technologically sophisticated than we were in the equivalent decade but none the worse for that. I suppose the closest one might come would be some of the works of Diana Wynne Jones.
Oh dear. Where to begin? He seems to have no idea how to pitch and stress a sentence. His pacing is eccentric. He has no idea how to pronounce Anglo-French names; when he rendered "de Lisle" as "de Lizly" I gave up. I don't know if his performance improves on subsequent volumes, but I sincerely hope so. Based on this recording, I could do a better job.
I would have liked to, but in the end I could only take about ten minutes of it at a time.
I feel terrible about giving such a negative review, but I was so very disappointed at the quality of the reading. I can only hope that some day there will be another version of these books. In the meantime, if you can cope with the reader's idiosyncrasies, these are wonderful stories and the world the author creates is both sharply realised and warmly welcoming.
Villar-Hauser gives a workman-like performance, in a work where characters are principally narrative tools. Garrett's mysteries are sound and the clues are there for the listener to deduce-along. Overall, a clever and entertaining listen.
Delighted to see that the series of books I first read over 30 years ago when I found them in Andromeda bookshop in Birmingham are now available on Audible. There are only three books in the series so only a few more to download. I have always remembered these as interesting take on a basic assumption of a changed reality where magic has replaced science. At the time I was interested in forensic science so it was great to read an alternative way of working, and I havent been disappointed when listening to them again now.
"Wonderful book, not so wonderful narrator"
Yes, I would recommend the book, but not the audio version. The narrator has a disconcerting habit of pausing in very inappropriate places in the middle of sentences, which for me completely breaks the flow of the story. It's very jarring and if the book itself were not so well written, I would probably abandon the audio version.
I plan to avoid this narrator at all costs in the future.
The Lord Darcy books are a great deal of fun, very well written and thoroughly enjoyable. Do yourself a favor and find a print copy to read,
"Great book, average reading"
lost of other
The story is great - good detective/noir/magic yarn, some of it based off the most famous detective/noir stories (Holmes, Christie, Hammett).
However, Victor must learn what punctuation is all about.
He stops in middle of sentences, stress wrong words, etc.
No one I can think of would have enjoyed it due to its type of narration.
Told the narrator to stop whispering. Gotten him to stop hissing the 'sh', soft 'c' and 's' sounds. I would have had him listen to the parts of the story where he did this. I would have had him listen to the parts of the story where he did a good job and made the story enjoyable.
I enjoy audible books. When I saw Lord Darcy in audible I saw it as a chance to revisit an old friend. Well I shouldn't have wasted the money. The narrator is awful. I wonder if he was trying to read the book softly. He whispered the entire story. His voice was soft and low. The 'sh', soft 'c', 's' and similiar sounds were hissed at you. Story narration with a need for lowered voice were difficult to understand. At times Victor Villar-Hauser would seem to forget about whispering. He would raise is voice and would become a real narrator. After doing this, he would suddenly remember (or was reminded) that whispering was the desired effect. This is not a story with a need for a lowered voice. It is not a story that indicates a soft voice. I do not know what results the editors were aiming for. Selling this type of audio book was not one of them.
Cutting scenes was not the problem. This book was written in a different time. I would have given the previous editor a bad reference. I would have used a narrator who could have spoken in a normal voice. Mr Victor Villar-Hauser would have been used on a different audiobooks to determine his job fate.
Don't waste your money. Listen to samples of audiobooks using Victor Villa-Hauser before purchase.
"Brilliant Performance of a Classic"
The Lord Darcy stories are legendary among fantasy fans and after finally hearing this I can see why. The worldbuilding is superb and the mysteries are classic puzzles in the style of Doyle or Christie. Imagine CSI in a world where magic spells are used instead of scientific tests and you'll have some idea of what to expect.
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