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Death by Silver (Julian Lynes and Ned Mathey series Book 1) by [Scott, Melissa, Griswold, Amy]
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Death by Silver (Julian Lynes and Ned Mathey series Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in Julian Lynes and Ned Mathey series (2 Book Series)
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Review

''This is not the Victorian London you think you know. In Death by Silver, Scott and Griswold have created an eerily familiar world lit by magic of an eminently practical and occasionally murderous sort, and a story that gives equal weight to meticulous detection, twisty red herrings, thrilling adventure, and an unconventional, stiff-upper-lip romance. I love this book. Do yourself the favor of making the acquaintance of metaphysician Ned Mathey and private detective Julian Lynes...then beg Scott and Griswold (as I do) for a sequel.'' --Alex Jeffers, author of Deprivation

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2130 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Lethe Press (28 May 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00D38W9SM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #261,735 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I think it's fair to say that the two leads Julian & Ned share more than a passing similarity to the more famous sleuthing pair of Sherlock Holmes & Dr Watson - I wont give any spoilers so you can spot the shared character traits for yourself. This book conjures up an intriguing world of almost as it was Victorian London but with some strange bends & kinks to it! The characters and plot are well written and fully developed. I enjoyed reading it very much - but with one very minor and one more significant issue that stopped me from giving it 5 stars ...
The minor niggle is that the story is entirely set in London with English characters - but the American authors used american-english such as "fall" instead of "autumn" and "sidewalk" instead of "pavement" either to pander to their american readers or because they were lazy with their research?
The more serious issue for me was that it was a bit too sedate - I never felt that our heroes were in the slighest bit of danger when hunting down the murderer. It needed to have a bit more excitement to it!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The genres of 'magical/steampunk victoriana' and 'historical queer romance' are often disappointing, there can be too much world building or not half enough, too much plot or far too little, too much mushy angst or a dearth of character, let alone queer character.

This book, however, gets it just right! And believe me when I say I've sifted through some dross to find this gem. This book has the style of Conan Doyle, or perhaps Wodehouse at his less eccentric (think Psmith rather than Wooster), and manages to include the magical elements in Victorian London in a feasible, logical manner that is often amusing. The murder mystery genuinely intrigues, with a great cast of supporting characters.

The romance is the emotional heart of the story, and is distinctive on many counts. We join Mathey and Lynes when they are in what might be called a 'friends with benefits' relationship. They both want more, and yet both are aware of the myriad difficulties this could cause them in their lives and work, and are unsure of each other's feelings. This is real relationship between adults (and yes, there are a few, ahem, naughty bits - nothing to frighten the horses but, well, if they filmed this scene for scene on TV it'd be a 15 certificate, put it that way), and much more interesting than the love-by-numbers stuff that straight and gay 'romance with mystery' books often fall into.

The end notes seem to imply a possible sequel. Very much hope this is the case.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was an enjoyable murder mystery with the flavour of magic, very fascinating. The secondary characters were well-drawn, but best of all were the two leads. Their relationship was physical, compassionate and companionable, although they struggled with some understandable confusion as to each other's intentions!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death by Silver 6 Jun. 2013
By Wallace Rinkelhaus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fans of Melissa Scott and Lisa Barnett's Point series, and the series' two protagonists, Nico and Philip, will find themselves in both familiar and unfamiliar territory in this newest Scott novel, Death by Silver, co-authored with Amy Griswold, just released by Lethe Press. There are two clever men, a love affair and its complications that needs sorting, magic, a mystery that needs solving, dangerous antagonists, and a richly developed, detailed, and nuanced world, and language that is graceful and beautiful and honest and very, very witty--all familiar.

But, it is the unfamiliar territory that engaged me and kept me reading this page-turner--unfamiliar territory that is both strange and comfortable at the same time. Death by Silver is set in Victorian England, yet not quite the historical one. In this England young men who go to Oxford can study to be a metaphysician and learn a particular magic peculiar to this world, a magic that Scott and Griswold have carefully and convincingly constructed, a magic of wands and letters and signs and sigils, a magic of written words. A cantrip, written on a piece of paper and dissolved in a glass of water, can "banish [an] incipient headache" (206).

The two clever men of the novel are metaphysician Ned Mathey and private detective Julian Lynes. Mathey, "just up from Oxford," has only recently hung out his shingle and can't afford to turn away clients, not even the rich and arrogant father of "the bully who made Ned's life hell at boarding school" (back cover). Edgar Nevett wants an investigation into "the matter of a curse upon certain pieces of silver owned by the Nevett family. All other remedies have failed, and the assistance of a metaphysician has become obviously necessary" (2). Whether the silver is actually cursed or whether Mr. Nevett wants the romance of a curse become something of a side issue, when he is "found dead in his study, felled by a heavy silver candlestick that lay bloody at his side" (25). When Scotland Yard seeks Ned's assistance, he brings Julian, another old school friend, onto the case. The game is afoot.

Who murdered Edgar Nevett? And how--was a curse actually used and Ned failed to detect it? He had determined the silver candlestick to be "magically harmless," after all. Where will solving this mystery take Edgar and Julian--how deep in to "London's criminal underworld and sodomitical demimonde" (back cover) must they delve? Can Ned and Julian both work with Victor, the son who so bullied them at school that Julian still wishes Victor dead? The memories of what happened at school are still painful, and far closer than either Ned or Julian imagined. The beatings, the canings, still haunt both men. And, what of the mysteries of their own hearts, the mystery of who Ned and Julian are to each other, now as grown men, and no longer bullied school boys?

This carefully constructed mystery, with its red herrings, obscure clues, its scandals and secrets, and carefully imagined magic, is compelling and engaging. I started it as a book to read on a plane and I couldn't put it down and I kept reading it long after the three-hour flight was over. Ned and Julian are charming men, real and authentic, and how they sort out their feelings for each other ring true for the repressed nuances of Victorian sexuality. The ending is very satisfying; this novel really works.

I want a sequel, a series! Highly recommended.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder and magic in Victorian England 30 May 2013
By Danielle D'Onofrio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love stories that integrate magic use into everyday life, and this book, where detectives use magic - or 'metaphysics', such a lovely Victorian turn of phrase - doesn't disappoint. I adore the way that Victorian England is shown to have adapted to using magic - charms for aiding housework, cursed silverware, and helpful carnivorous plants. The mystery itself is interesting and involved, both from the point of view of stratified Victorian society, as well as the way that magic both hinders and helps the investigation. The authors really bring magical Victorian London to life, and it's easy to understand and enjoyable to visualise the way magic use has seeped into all walks of life, from the wealthy to the criminal.

I very much enjoyed the different skills the two main characters, Ned and Julian, bring to the field, and the way that the investigation helps rekindle a friendship formed at their very nasty public school. The supporting cast - Ned's secretary and peers, Julian's criminal contacts, a capable Scotland Yard detective - are interesting and engaging in their own right, and the mystery remains entertaining to the finish.

If you could imagine taking the best bits of Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter and Tom Brown's School Days, and cramming them into one book, it would be Death By Silver. I hope to see more of Ned, Julian, and magical London.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gaslamp fantasy "pulling things slightly off-kilter and seeing how they wobble" 2 Jun. 2013
By Ann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've loved every book I've read by Melissa Scott, and Death by Silver, co-written with Amy Griswold, is no exception - it's a delight.

World-building has always been one of Ms Scott's particular strengths, and in this faux-Victorian, gaslamp-fantasy world, the focus is not so much "building" as "pulling things slightly off-kilter and seeing how they wobble". Everyday magic, called "metaphysics", exists, and, like any technology, needs a bit of tuning up every now and then, so metaphysician is a perfectly respectable career. The main characters, Ned Mathey and Julian Lynes, a metaphysician and a private detective respectively, team together to resolve knotty magical and occasionally extralegal problems. Ned and Julian were boyhood and university friends, and are now in a friends-with-benefits kind of thing. Both of them long to deepen the relationship, and both of them are hesitant, fearful of tampering with the delicate balance as it now exists.

Ned and Julian are very well drawn out, and it's easy to relate to them as young men just starting out in their careers. Money's a bit tight, and there's the necessity of dressing well, and having an appropriate venue for meeting clients. Secondary characters Miss Frost, Ned's bright-young-thing office assistant, and Mrs. Digby, Julian's landlady, add color and sparkle to the mix. I particularly liked that Miss Frost has studied metaphysics as well, in a woman's college. Ned is startled when she demonstrates a bit of her expertise: not startled that she has it, but how the same concepts are applied differently in men's and women's studies. The interplay between them in that scene particularly was very well written.

There's a mystery here to be solved, having to do with a man who bullied them brutally in their schooldays. Flashbacks gradually add depth to our understanding and empathy for Ned and Julian, and the unresolved issues that are standing in their way. The mystery is wrapped up neatly, but really, the joy here is in the journey! I understand that there is at least one sequel in the works; and I can't wait.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare five stars. A brilliant book. 5 Feb. 2014
By Ulysses Dietz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Melissa Scott and Amy Griswold have written a literate, Conan-Doyle-worthy detective story, set in a carefully crafted Victorian London that rings true in every particular. I'm a cultural historian by profession, and very particular about language and detail in historical novels. Additionally, Scott and Griswold have created not only a complicated murder mystery, but have woven into it a powerful back story about a British public school and the abusive practices that have left both of the main characters scarred, physically and emotionally.

Oh, and the protagonists, Ned Mathey and Julian Lynes, are both gay. And magicians.

Not quite Conan Doyle, after all.

Few contemporary gay lit writers can accomplish such high-quality historical narrative - Tamara Allen is one such writer, but her stories are all set in New York. Scott and Griswold have written a book that is not only accurate in period feeling, but in period psychology. The book fairly seethes with restraint and British reserve, and yet it offers the reader a story filled with such palpable intelligence and love that one can't help but think of Jane Austen and her tightly wrapped emotions.

Ned and Julian are two characters whom I would like very much to see again. This brilliant novel stands happily on its own, but there is always the chance that these talented young men will be called upon once more to use their magical skills in the service of justice. One can only hope.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Victorian Mystery and Manners With A Healthy Dollop of Magic 4 April 2014
By The Fountain Pen Diva - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Death by Silver could have easily been written by Anne Perry if she ever turned her pen to Victorian urban fantasy featuring gay male lead characters. Yes, it's just that GOOD.

This is the kind of mystery one can curl up with a cup of tea, some scones and a fluffy blanket. Even without all the magickal hijinks, Death by Silver stands as a classic English murder mystery. The authors have done a smashing job of capturing the manners and morals of a Victorian London that easily could have been if magic were a natural part of everyday life. Add to that the characters of Ned Mathey and Julian Lynes, men attracted to each other in an age where such attractions were not just frowned upon by society, but deemed criminal acts as well. Moreover, the horrors of the English private school system are depicted in painful flashbacks by Ned and Julian who suffered terribly under what amounted to sanctioned bullying.

The irony being that one of their tormentors, Victor Nevett, has come to them seeking magical detective prowess in discovering who murdered his father, Edgar, with an enchanted (and rather heavy) candlestick. Of course, solve the mystery without bringing to light family secrets that are best left undisturbed.

And, there's no genderfail either. Ned's unflappable secretary, Miss Frost, has her own magickal abilities which serve to help solve the mystery. She's a finely-drawn heroine, well-suited for the rather restrictive era she lives in and hopefully there will be more written about her.

Fans of mannered fantasy/mystery will enjoy this.
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