In a sense, this is a story of here-and-now. This Earth, this year ... but on a history-line slipped slightly sidewise. A history in which a great man acted differently, and Magic, rather than physical science, was developed....
late Majesty, Henry X, spoke very few words of Anglo-French, and those with a heavy Norse accent.
Nevertheless, there was nothing Scandinavian in the language, manner, or bearing of Richard, Duke of Normandy. Not only was he a member of the oldest and most powerful ruling family of Europe, but he bore a Christian name that was distinguished even in that family. Seven Kings of the Empire had borne the name, and most of them had been good Kings--if not always "good" men in the nicey-nicey sense of the word. Even old Richard I, who'd been pretty wild during the first forty-odd years of his life, had settled down to do a magnificent job of kinging for the next twenty years. The long and painful recovery from the wound he'd received at the Siege of Chaluz had made a change in him for the better.
There was a chance that Duke Richard might be called upon to uphold the honor of that name as King. By law, Parliament must elect a Plantagenet as King in the event of the death of the present Sovereign, and
This is the first [or perhaps second] story in a series of detective stories by Gordon Randall Garrett and the only one, as far as I know that is in the public domain. It takes place in a parallel world where Richard the Lion-Hearted did not go Crusading but established continued the Plantagenet line down to the present day [of the stories]. They occur in the equivalent year that they were written. In this world the Laws of Magic were organized in the 15th Century and Science never developed. This story, while good, is not the best, and if you can find the full set, do so. If not, read this one; he uses Magic as Sherlock Holmes used Science, but with more logic. As most of Garrett's stories, the characters are well-drawn, and he slips in a little humor without it interfering with the story.
A murder mystery set in the present time(ish), but on a parallel universe Earth. Richard I of England stayed home from the Crusades, and the rule by aristocrats continues to the present. A lecherous duke is murdered and the royal investigator arrives with an investigative sorcerer to try and solve the crime.
The investigator, the sorcerer, and the priest are all good characters.
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