Murder by Magic

Murder Entailed
Aspect (October 2004)
ISBN-13: 9780446679626 ♦ ISBN-10: 0446679623

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This anthology features 20 original stories of murder by acclaimed and award-winning science fiction and fantasy writers.

including “Murder Entailed” by Susan Krinard

After Lord Featherstonehaugh is found murdered by unknown means, Lady Olivia Dowling must search her stately home to unearth a villain with a magical gift—and a talent to kill…

Read an Excerpt

Murder Entailed

If anyone in Albion was likely to be murdered, it was surely not Lord Roderick Featherstonehaugh.

Everyone loved “Fen,” as his intimates called him. Women adored him. His peers fought for the privilege of inviting him to their country house shooting parties to bag the best grouse and pheasant. Even servants, from grooms to housekeepers, hastened to do his bidding with uncharacteristic alacrity.

And yet here he lies, Lady Olivia Dowling thought, gazing down at the body sprawled on the Axminster carpet in the guest chamber at Waveney Hall. Fen was still quite imposing in death, though his expression of terror somewhat mitigated the impact of his girth. Why is it that I cannot feel the proper grief? And how can I solve this terrible mystery before the constable must be summoned?

For it would not do to involve the authorities, not until she was quite certain that none of her guests were guilty of the crime–or that one of them definitely was.

What made the situation even more vexing was the fact that no one was quite sure what family Talent Fen had inherited from his father, the former Viscount Featherstonehaugh. Society had long made a game of guessing its nature, but Fen had never told.

A wind-blown splatter of rain struck the window. Olivia pushed a loose tendril of hair out of her face and wrinkled her nose at the unmistakable smell of wet canine.

Lightning flashed, the window sprang open, and Kit Meredith climbed in. Though the guest rooms were in the east wing on the first floor of the mansion, scaling the brick walls of the Hall was no problem for Kit. His black hair was plastered to his face, though his black wool suit was conveniently unaffected by the miserable day outside. How fortunate that he did not need to leave his clothes behind when he called upon his wild magic. A naked man appearing in her home at any time of day was most inconvenient. Almost as inconvenient as a murder.

Kit slipped on his smoked-lensed spectacles and straightened to his full, lanky height. “Well?” he began. “What is–”

His gaze followed hers to the body. He gave a startled woof and sank down in the nearest chair.

“Featherstonehaugh,” he said. “Dead. By magic.”

“Ah, Kit,” she said fondly. “You always come just when I need you most–even if you prefer that know one knows how you come. I am very much afraid that you and I have a murder to investigate.”

 

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