This one-of-a-kind collection features stories from some of the biggest names in mystery and fantasy-blending the genres into a unique hybrid where PIs may wear wizard's robes and criminals may really be monsters.
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July 14, 2005
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Excerpt from Powers of Detection by Dana Stabenow
"Murder by magic " Master Radolphus exclaimed.
Gwynn wasn't actually trying to eavesdrop on the headmaster. But how could she help overhearing when his study door hung wide open
Just then he looked up and saw her.
"You wait here," he said to someone Gwynn couldn't see. "I'll talk to Master Justinian."
What did a murder ' even a magical murder ' have to do with the Maestro, Gwynn wondered.
But she didn't dare ask. Radolphus strode out of his study, beckoned for Gwynn to follow, and set off in the direction of Justinian's quarters at a half run, his voluminous black robes billowing behind him. When they arrived outside the familiar carved wooden door, Radolphus stopped. He fished a handkerchief out of his sleeve, pushed up his thick spectacles, and wiped his red and sweating face.
Gwynn bent down to put her ear to the door.
"Is he out " Radolphus said, panting slightly.
"Oh no, headmaster; the Maestro doesn't feel well enough to go out," Gwynn said softly. "I just don't want to wake him if he's sleeping."
Radolphus nodded approvingly and patted her head. Gwynn sighed. At twelve, she'd considered it an incredible honor, being apprenticed to Westmarch College's most powerful mage. She still wouldn't trade with any of her fellow students, but after two years, she'd begun to wonder if she owed her assignment to her superior magical talent or her reputation for working harder than any of the other students. Justinian did create a lot more work than the other masters. And needed more looking after than a first-year student.
Suddenly a loud "Achoo!" rang out inside.
"Oh, bother," the Maestro exclaimed.
"He's awake," Gwynn said, pushing open the study door.
The tall diamond-paned windows, normally open wide even in January to let in sunlight, breezes, and any interesting bugs that might be passing by, were closed. The heavy velvet curtains were drawn tight, though a lot of light leaked through the places where the Maestro's cat had shredded them. A mysterious haze drifted through the room from a burning brazier just inside the doorway. Though the healer had assured Gwynn that burning this particular assortment of herbs would ease a stuffy nose, it didn't seem to have had much effect, apart from evicting the goblins who had made a nest under the dining table. To her surprise, Gwynn missed the goblins, if only because they normally kept the place moderately tidy by devouring anything organic that fell on the floor.