Lord Darcy

Created by Randall Garrett (1927-87)

In a sort of parallel world where magic and ESP, not to mention knights and castles, co-exist peacefully alongside railroads, handguns and various other modern technology, LORD DARCY, who makes his home in Rouen, France, is the private security expert and Chief Investigator for Richard, Duke of Normandy. This alternate world somehow diverged from our own during the time of Richard the Lionheart, and is now ruled by a Plantagenet dynasty has survived into the twentieth century and where magic is alive and well.

But there's magic. And then there's magic.

Darcy uses magic as an aid to his detective work, in much the same way that Sherlock HolmesSherlock Holmes used science. Playing Watson to Darcy's Holmes (or Archie to Nero Wolfe) is Master Sean O Lochlainn, licensed sorceror. Definitely not a hard-boiled private eye type of guy, either by temperament or occupation, and yet the stories themselves often display a pulpish energy that more than makes up for it.

The series proved popular enough that it was briefly continued after Garrett's 1987 death. (A debilitating illness left Garrett unable to write for the last seven years of his life, which is why there were no Lord Darcy stories from 1980-1987.)

Anyway, two post-Garrett Lord Darcy novels appeared, both by Michael Kurland: Ten Little Wizards (Ace Books, 1988), and A Study In Sorcery (Ace Books, 1989). Sorry, no bonus points for guessing which tales these novels pastiche/parody.

Interestingly, Kurland's own sf novel , The Unicorn Girl (Pyramid, 1969), though not a Lord Darcy novel, is partially based in Lord Darcy's alternate-reality timeline. It was written while Garrett was very much alive and well, undoubtedly with Garrett's knowledge and approval. Presumably, this is why Kurland got the commission to write the continuation of the Lord Darcy series almost two decades later.

Not to everyone's taste, perhaps, but bound to appeal to those who like ladies in waiting, damsels in distress, and men in pantyhose.

Randall Garrett was a popular (or perhaps notorious) American science fiction and fantasy author, and a prolific contributor to Astounding and numerous other science fiction magazines of the 1950s and 1960s. He's best known for his Lord Darcy stories, but he also wrote under a variety of pseudonyms including David Gordon, John Gordon, Darrel T. Langart (an anagram of his name), Alexander Blade, Richard Greer, Ivar Jorgensen, Clyde Mitchell, Leonard G. Spencer, S. M. Tenneshaw and Gerald Vance. An unrepentant fan of puns (once defining a pun as "the odor given off by a decaying mind") and infamous womanizer, he won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History Special Achievement Award for the Lord Darcy series posthumously in 1999.

TRIVIA

  • Glen Cook's private eye, Garrett, was named in honour of Randall Garrett.

NOVELS

  • Too Many Magicians (1967; serialized in Analog).. Buy this book

COLLECTIONS

All the stories written by Garrett collected into one large trade paperback volume.

SHORT STORIES

  • "The Eyes Have It" (January 1964, Analog; 1979, Murder and Magic)
  • "A Case of Identity" (September 1964, Analog; 1979, Murder and Magic)
  • "The Muddle of the Woad" (June 1965, Analog; 1979, Murder and Magic)
  • "Too Many Magicians, Part 1" (August 1966, Analog)
  • "Too Many Magicians, Part 2" (September 1966, Analog)
  • "Too Many Magicians, Part 3" (October 1966, Analog)
  • "Too Many Magicians, Part 4" (November 1966, Analog)
  • "A Stretch of the Imagination" (1973, Men & Malice; 1979, Murder and Magic)
  • "A Matter of Gravity" (October 1974, Analog; 1981, Lord Darcy Investigates)
  • "The Ipswich Phial" (December 1976, Analog; 1981, Lord Darcy Investigates)
  • "The Sixteen Keys" (May 1976, Fantastic; 1981, Lord Darcy Investigates)
  • "The Bitter End" (September 1978, IASFM)
  • "The Napoli Express" (April 1979, IASFM; 1981, Lord Darcy Investigates)
  • "The Spell of War" (1979, Future at War, Vol. 1)

NOVELS BY MICHAEL KURLAND

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. A really big thanks to Rudyard Kennedy for helping me out with this one.


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