I cannot write about this book without first expressing the deep sense of disappointment I felt after such a promising opening chapter. Being new to this set of novels (which still don't seem to need to be read in chronological order), I was unaware that it was not truly the detective novel it purported itself to be, but simply lots of fairy-themed sex interrupted by a simplistic detective case that doesn't seem to belong in the same novel. Obtaining clues via sexual favors, and not even with people remotely related to the case to be solved, is too much of a stretch, even for a fey-themed novel.
I was hooked into reading the story by a beginning that artfully starts by describing our main character Merry without identifying her. Not knowing her background, I was impressed with the slight clues and transitions that first describe Merry the human, the woman who fusses with her dress but wears it anyway, and finally, the detective who came to a crime scene in a hurry, hence the less than professional attire. Set in first-person narrative, the novel continues to explain that she is not only a detective, but fairy royalty (starting to seem like a bit of a stretch...) but then on page 9 pulls it all back together with a statement from an exchange with a human detective who tells Merry:
"You don't just rely on the magic; you actually try to be a good detective."
"Isn't that what I'm supposed to do?"
"Yeah, but you'd be surprised how many psychics and wizards are great at the magic but suck at the actual detecting part."
I interpreted that as a promise that Merry Gentry would be more than just a magical fairy princess who just happens to always be in the right place at the right time and is handed the case on a silver platter. And that was where I went wrong! No detective work, she just sleeps around with anyone she lays eyes on! Calling this book a detective novel is just a way for Hamilton to deny that she writes porn for a living.
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