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Death of a Musketeer
Musketeers Mysteries #1

by Sarah D’Almeida

      As somebody who grew up loving the works of writers like Dumas and Sabatini, a whodunit set in the world of the Three Musketeers sounds almost too good to be true. The trouble is, this sort of thing is either very good or (more frequently) very bad indeed. I needn’t have worried though, as this is a cracking good book that succeeds on many levels. D’Artagnon, a naďve young man freshly up from Gascony is desperate to become one of the musketeers. He gets admitted to the friendship of the Three through fighting with the Cardinal’s guards and almost immediately afterwards (as Dumas forgets to tell us) the four stumble upon a dead body in a dark alley. This is soon revealed to be a young woman, dressed in musketeer’s clothing and bearing a strong resemblance to the queen. Thus follows the foursome’s adventures as they endeavor to find out whodunit, and why.

The author might have chosen to pen a cozy tale using Dumas’ characters and gotten away with it pleasingly enough, but fortunately she has done a lot more than that. She has managed to tell the tale in the same style as Dumas (updated for modern readers where it counts), and her only real alteration is in making the three musketeers rather smarter than they were in the originals. This makes sense, considering that they have fewer than 300 pages to solve a crime. The murder naturally is the sort pertaining to treason, and dark doings at high levels involving Cardinal Richelieu; anything else would have been very much out of place. The characters are all spot on, and the evocation of early seventeenth century France is just as Dumas had it. A round of applause too, for writing a book set in a period not already overdone and in packing a teasing plot, well-loved characters that spring to life and plenty of authentic background into a book of just the right length. Waiting until the next book is going to be hard... highly enjoyable!

The Book

Berkley Prime Crime (Penguin Group)
7 November 2006
Historical Mystery - 1625, Paris and environs, France
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2006
© 2006