Title: Death by Silver
Series: Lynes & Mathey: Book One
Authors: Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold
Publisher: Queen of Swords Press
Length: 375 Pages
Category: Historical Mystery, Fantasy
Rating: 3.5 Stars
At a Glance: While I remain perplexed by all the accolades heaped up this book, if you like a good procedural mystery, Death by Silver is one.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Mystery, Murder and Magic…
When his nemesis from schoolboy days hires metaphysician Ned Mathey to investigate his father’s murder, Ned turns to his friend and sometime lover, detective Julian Lynes, for help. Together, they must navigate a maze of deceit, danger, their painful past and, perhaps, a chance at a future together, in an Edwardian London as full of peril as it is with magic. Can they solve the mystery at the heart of the murder to forge a new kind of partnership or will the past and society’s disapproval send them off on separate paths?
Review: This is not the first time I’ve read Death by Silver. Or, more accurately, it’s not my first attempt at reading it. I bought it upon its original release in 2013, and DNF’d it. Wrong book at the wrong time, perhaps. I persevered this time around, though, and can say, for the most part, I’m glad I did. But I still remain perplexed by all the accolades heaped on it.
As a confessed and unapologetic emotional reader, making a connection with a story’s characters is paramount to my enjoyment of a book. Having made that disclaimer, Ned Mathey and Julian Lynes remained aloof and distanced from me, beginning to end, some of that owing to the “stiff upper lip, old chap” setting (Edwardian London), some of it due to their story being told in flashbacks. Their past is rife with abuse at the boy’s school of their youth, and while reading about it in “real time” might not have been a fix for my lack of connection to them, it likely would have helped with the pacing of the story, which is slow, to say the least. That said, this is not a book that should be read for the romance. In fact, there are few scenes of obvious affection between its characters.
When Ned is hired by his most egregious former abuser, Victor Nevett, to look into a case of murder-by-magic, he brings Julian into the case as well, which sets the stage for a mystery rife with twists and turns and suspicious characters. The mystery was, by far and away, the most enjoyable aspect of Death by Silver. Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold didn’t cut corners to solve the case; it’s meticulously plotted, and Ned and Julian get their perpetrator in the end. The one thing I did find wholly unsatisfying, however, is that Victor was never confronted, never made to answer, let alone apologize, for the abuses he heaped on both Ned and Julian. I wanted a modicum of comeuppance for him. I didn’t embrace the “boys will be boys” premise, but that’s simply me looking at things with a modern eye.
If you like a good procedural mystery, Death by Silver is one. The historical setting is beautifully realized, and while the magic is more an abstract element of this alt-world than it is a concrete feature, it played an important role in the whodunnit.
You can buy Death by Silver here: