Marion Deeds, "Comeuppance Served Cold" (Tordotcom, 2022)


A clever magical mystery which needs your full attention, Comeuppance Served Cold (Tordotcom, 2022) challenges this podcaster to write a review without a spoiler. The novella begins with what appears to be the murder of a young dark-haired woman, followed by the departure of a masked person who might be the perpetrator. Or maybe not.

Nothing what it seems like, except that the pompous powerful Mr. Earnshaw, and his misogynist son Francis really are as despicable as they first appear to be. (They do get their comeuppance, though). Earnshaw, whose nickname is the White King, runs a commission to license magicians. His son Francis leads a group called the Order of Saint Michael, which metes out punishment when his father wishes his own hands to stay clean. The White King and Francis have targeted people from the waterfront, such as Violet, a Black speakeasy owner, and her brother, a shape shifter, in their efforts to clean up Seattle and regulate magic.

The battle lines are drawn. But what does Dolly White, a no-nonsense caretaker for Mr. Earnshaw’s drunken daughter, Fiona, have to do with any of this? Corpses on ice, magical jewels, a bespoke suit, and a precious mask will all make their appearances as this sly tale unwinds.

Marion Deeds was born in Santa Barbara, California and moved to northern California when she was five. She loves the redwoods, the ocean, dogs and crows. She’s fascinated by the unexplained, and curious about power: who has it, who gets it, what is the best way to wield it. These questions inform her stories. Fun Fact: She once lost her glasses when they fell into a glacier.

You can follow Gabrielle on Twitter to get updates about new podcasts and more @GabrielleAuthor.

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