Thursday, August 18, 2016

What I'm reading: The Musketeer's Inheritance by Sarah D'Almeida

I recently bought two more books in the The Musketeer's Mysteries by Sarah D'Almeida (aka Sarah A. Hoyt): The Musketeer's Inheritance and Dying by the Sword.

The Musketeer's Inheritance, originally published under the title "A Death in Gascony" is the fourth book in the series and by this point, D’Almeida’s versions of the main characters – Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D’Artagnan should be familiar to the reader. Her characterizations are one of the things I like best about the series and that motivated me to buy and read the first three books. (Though somehow I failed to review the others.) Throughout the series, the author has done a very nice job fleshing out Dumas' characters while staying true to the essence revealed by the master. 

In a number of ways the books in this series could be characterized as cozy mysteries and like nearly all mystery series there are certain formulaic aspects to each novel. By now we can expect that the four characters will split up to separately investigate matters, at some point they will recombine into various pairs to compare and contrast the characters' respective personalities and then meet to share information eventually leading to a solution of the mystery.

This novel starts with a letter from Gascony that calls D'Artagnan home. His father has died suddenly and D'Artagnan must come and take charge of the estate. His friends, of course, accompany him. But what Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D'Artagnan don't know is that the older D'Artagnan was murdered and that they must find the killer, if they want to keep the younger D'Artagnan alive.

Like each of the previous novels, the mystery includes fighting, intrigue, and the appropriate complications that delay the discovery of the murderer.

Based on the details D'Almeida has included for Paris and the time period in her first three books, I expect the history and geography for Gascony are essentially correct. The previous three books which are all set in Paris do take some historical and literary liberties, but the author is writing a mystery, not a history text. And by this time, I've accumulated some rather pedantic knowledge about Parisian city geography and history circa 1625. I'm sure the average reader and even many historians aren't going to notice the minor discrepancies. But for that reason alone, the change in scenery is welcome and a tour of Gascony, home to so many heroes of the French cape & sword novel, is fun. I haven't been there, but the hard scrabble existence seems to fit with what I do know of the geography, culture, and history of Gascony.

I liked this book and I like the series. The books are definitely light reading, but quite enjoyable. I feel like I should rank the books lower due to their lightness, but I just don't feel that cranky.

I give this book (and the previous three novels) 4 out of 4 stars.

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