Special Detective Constable Adamat may be the most capable young investigator in all of Adopest. He’s sharp, thoughtful, and his particular sorcery gives him a flawless memory. A transfer to the First Precinct seems like the perfect opportunity to showcase his abilities and advance his career.
But things work differently in the First Precinct. The murder of a businessman’s mistress quickly pulls Adamat into an unexpected world of conspiracy and politics where he’s forced to use all his wits to stay one step ahead of unseen enemies and keep his friends — and himself — from the guillotine.
Set twenty-two years before the events in Promise of Blood, this is a great introduction to Adamat — dogged, honest investigator in a system that is corrupt and nepotistic. In that respect, this may seem like a typical crime story, only with fantasy elements. And that’s what it is, really, which is a good thing. I enjoyed the investigation, seeing Adamat use his “knack” (perfect memory) to figure out what really happened at the hotel, while navigating the dangerous waters that make up the Adopest police force. There’s some political machinations, economics, magic, and mild character peril. Everything a short story needs.
I really like that McClellan is writing so many short stories set in his Powder Mage series: thus far, they have all been well-written and enjoyable. They add flavour and colour to the world and characters in the novels (the third of which, The Autumn Republic, is due out early 2015 from Orbit Books). While others of the short stories have focused mostly on powder mages, I welcomed the added background for Adamat and the fact that this meant the story was rather different.
You can buy Murder at the Kinnen Hotel from a number of places — check the author’s website for details.
Also on CR: Interview with Brian McClellan; Guest Posts on My Favourite Novel and Protagonist Ages in Epic Fantasy; Reviews of Promise of Blood, The Crimson Campaign (novels), The Girl of Hrusch Avenue, Hope’s Way, Forsworn, Face in the Window (short stories)