The Magician’s Death by Paul Doherty

The Magician's DeathTwo years, I’ve been blogging about mystery novels. Well, two years and three days, but what’s three days between friends? Throughout this time, I’ve kept one thing foremost in my mind – read what I want to read.

Despite this being a book review blog, I don’t want to give bad reviews to anything, as that will mean that I’ve wasted my time reading something I didn’t enjoy. If someone asks me to review something that is outside my comfort zone, I’ve adopted (after one unfortunate experience) a suck-it-and-see policy. If I don’t like it after a few chapters, then I won’t finish it and I won’t mention it on my blog. Of course, if I’ve paid for something and get to the end… sorry, dear author, but then I’ll talk about it.

I digress. As I said, I read what I want to read. And more often than not, it’s an historical mystery. And if it’s an historical mystery, then more often than not, it’s by Paul Doherty. (That’s possibly not quite true, but I imagine, dear reader, that it feels like it sometimes.) And so, despite only reading one a couple of books ago, I was in the mood. Hugh Corbett (one of Doherty’s strongest series) book fourteen. Any guesses what I thought of it?

Well, I’ll keep the summary simple.

1303, Corfe Castle. Many local girls murdered with a  crossbow. Roger Bacon’s secret papers. French scholars. Corbett’s arch enemy. A locked room murder. Oh, and pirates. Lots of pirates.

And I’ll keep the review simple.

Outstanding – one of Doherty’s finest. Two well constructed parallel mysteries, along with well-hidden solutions. Get it now.

Where can I find a copy?

Some paperback copies are still knocking around, or it’s available as a mid-price ebook.

And finally…

This is the last post before Christmas, so I’d like to wish my readers a Happy Christmas and a well-read New Year.


  1. First off, congrats on your two years of activity Steve – your blog is still my first port of call. And second, i agree with you about wanting to be as positive on this as possible (and I believe Bambi’s mother agrees with us here) – even if things go wrong in the book one should be as constructive as possible even when feeling disappointed. So glad this one is a winner – not a surprise perhaps, but goof to hear. Merry Christmas.


  2. If I could respectfully make a slight criticism, I would like to see a little less of the historical mysteries of the Paul Doherty variety and more reviews on Golden Age ones, like John Dickson Carr, Dorothy L Sayers, Josephine Tey etc.


    • I’ll always return to the Golden Age but first and foremost, I’m going to read and review what I’m currently enjoying. At the moment, and admittedly for a good while now, that’s the historical mystery. There will be more Christie, Carr and Queen in the future but also more historicals, more current authors… as long as they’re decent mysteries.


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