Glen Cook:Sweet Silver Blues

In his Garrett books, Glen Cook has attempted to write "detective fantasy" novels in the same way that his Black Company books are "military fantasy". Sweet Silver Blues, the first in the series, makes it look like he's succeeded.

Garrett is a private eye in a world full of elves, gnomes, and other such fantasy creatures. But it's not PI-meets-Tolkien, anymore than it's Hammett-with-elves. Instead, Cook has synthesized them, and they play off each other well. He avoids the problem John W. Campbell mentioned with respect to SF mysteries, that one could always come up with some magical way of solving the crime. Some unexpected fantasy elements are introduced, but gradually, and not always on Garrett's side.

Garrett starts off being approached by the family of an old friend who recently died, and left his fortune in silver to a woman the rest of the family hadn't even heard of...but who was an old flame of Garrett's. The friend was, of course, in things over his head, and Garrett has to try to keep from getting swamped by the several groups that end up on his trail as he heads down to the silver-rich(and hotly-contested)Cantard looking for the elusive Kayean.

Cook has introduced numerous elements which are skimmed over in the books, but probably have a greater role to play in later books(there are seven in the series by my count), which I am looking forward to reading. (The series is commonly referred to as the Adjective-Metal-Noun series, with titles like Dread Brass Shadows, Deadly Quicksilver Lies, Old Tin Sorrows...)

%A Cook, Glen
%T Sweet Silver Blues
%I Signet Roc
%C New York
%D August 1987
%G ISBN 0-451-45070-1
%P 255 pp.
%S Garrett
%V Book 1
%O Paperback, US$3.95, Can$4.95

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The Den of Ubiquity / Aaron V. Humphrey / alfvaen@gmail.com