author - Randall Garrett
This magical mystery novel is about Randall Garrett's stock characters, Lord Darcy, Chief Investigator for His Royal Highness Prince Richard of Normandy, and his sidekick Master Forensic Sorcerer Sean O Lochlainn. If you think you'd enjoy an 'alternate history' background where the Anglo-French Empire is ruled by descendants of King Richard the Lion-Hearted--who didn't die of an arrow wound in 1199--and where magic is commonplace, along with gas lights and steam engines, then you should enjoy this adventure in detection and magic. The atmosphere is very royalist--in a pinch, "the Royal Blood of England always came through"--and very Catholic. Evidently Martin Luther didn't nail his ninety-five theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church in this alternate reality. Lord Darcy himself is a bit of a stuffed shirt, and the author is always bringing in other characters to extol his 'deductive genius' (note to author: show us, don't tell us). However, the Sorcerer Sean is a very ingratiating Irishman who serves to balance Lord Darcy's stuffiness. The mystery is hard to solve unless you're a magician, but I enjoyed it anyway.
"Too Many Magicians" takes place in London during the Triennial Convention of Healers and Sorcerers. A powerful sorcerer is murdered behind the locked door of his hotel room at the convention, and Master Sean is thrown into the Tower of London as the chief suspect. Lord Darcy manages to get his Chief Sorcerer out of prison, and the body count keeps piling up as they search for the man who is selling Royal Naval secrets to agents of the wicked Polish Empire.
Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy Adventure. "He has combined the best of fantasy and detective genres - and made them work as science fiction." - Marion Zimmer Bradley