April 17: (Inspector French and) the Box Office Murders (both titles exist) by Freeman Wills Crofts. I’d forgotten the existence of Inspector French completely, and this is one I hadn’t read before! Very slight period-true cringe moments but the inspector is a decent, respectful human being, who listens to his wife when she has something sensible to say. And there’s a self-rescuing
princess damsel in distress. Refreshing. Here is a very good review of it.
April 16: Five Things Tom and Carl Did in College (In the First Semester Alone) by Gray Shadows. Of course Tom and Carl go to Blackstock! But I thought it was just a tongue-in-cheek insert until the fifth section when the crossover with Tam Lin became apparent. It was inevitable, I think. I like it that a good crossover story makes the worlds seamlessly become one, and this one is very good. (I wonder if I’m supposed to know which of the Blackstock girls Tanaquil is, though.)
April 15: The Wizard of Karres by Mercedes Lackey, Eric Flint and Dave Freer. It’s the sequel to The Witches of Karres and starts right from the end of that, in the same scene even, though it does have small “this is what happened in the previous book” infodumps later. Nicely written, though the small reminder infodumps jar a little. Perhaps that isn’t a problem for people who don’t read the two back-to-back. I thought I wouldn’t like all the circus stuff, but it was well done, I suppose by Mercedes Lackey (because I like her vaudeville Elemental Masters stories too). Strangely, there seemed to be an ending at about 60% and then a whole new story arc emerged — no problem eventually, but a bit disconcerting. That final story arc had a twist at the end that wasn’t what I expected (that Hulik do Eldel would turn out to have been the Empress in disguise all along; they were different people after all) but satisfying nevertheless. I want this to be a trilogy!