Daniel Hood
Wizard's Heir
Ace Books 1995

"Wizard's Heir" is the second book about Liam Rhenford, detective ("Quaestor") in the city of Southwark. This time some burglar steals a spell book and some magical devices Liam has inherited from Tarquin, the wizard who was murdered in "Fanuilh". At about the same time, someone has attempted to steal the temple treasure of the newly established temple of the war goddess Bellona. As the two crimes seem to be connected, Liam volunteers to help his friend Coeccias, the city's highest official, in solving them. Which leads him to situations and conclusions quite - unusual, involving ghosts, gods and magical beasts.

Southwark is still a nice setting for this kind of stories, like a much smaller Lankhmar. Like a Greek Sword & Sorcery city, not very realistic, but colourfully described and complete with a thieves' guild and gods that are raving mad.

Unfortunately, the detective story is weaker in this one. In a fantasy setting the possibilities are almost unlimited, and when for instance gods are actively participating in the story what's charming about the whodunnit can easily get lost. Which I think happened in this case. Mr Hood is also quite often repeating himself, telling us things he has already told us several times, and, which is worse, quite unnecessarily gives us information about the wizard's murderer in the previous book. As I've already read "Fanuilh", it didn't destroy anything for me, but it makes it impossible to really enjoy the series if reading them in the wrong order. Agatha Christie would never have done that mistake. Still, "Wizard's Heir" is a quite entertaining novel.

Karl Henriksson

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Henriksson & Henriksson 1996.