Book Review: Realms of Mystery - Several Writers


Title Realms of Mystery
Author Various
Publisher Wizards of the Coast
Year 1998
Stand Alone or series Collection of short stories
Pages 336
Rating 7/10

Summary
A murder victim is turned into a zombie, just long enough to cover up the circumstances of his own death . . .
A silent ghost with a friendly grin greets those about to meet their doom . . .
The only clue to who's killing a party of adventurers is the letter "H," written in the blood of one of the victims . . .
Stories of murder, suspense, and intrigue by Elaine Cunninham, Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood, and other favorite Forgotten Realms authors.

Review
“Speaking with the Dead” - Elaine Cunningham - 32pag - 6/10
This first tale she takes back to Arilyn Moonblade, Danilo Thann and Elaith Craulnober her heroes in Song and Swords quintet. For what I've search this short story takes place between Silver Shadows and Dream Spheres. In this story Elaith is accused of murdering a gnome illusionist, Danilo has the difficult (and ironic) task of proving Elaith's innocence. It wasn't the best short story in this book but not the worse. A bit confusing in my opinion. (First story that the dead is invoked)

“A Walk in the Snow” - Dave Gross - 21pag -6/10
This was my second adventure into a Gross tale. The first being Mistress of the Night last year. You can see the review here. In this tale a wizard is killed and the constable (also a innkeeper) is sent to investigate. There is no wounds so what happenend? They suspect a Northman and the innkeeper resolves with ease the solution. The solution was kind of odd and I wondered if that can even be possivel (Spoilers: If you kill a familiar does the wizar die? I seriously doubt it. Can any one confirm it?) The story was good but this thing upset me...

“Rose Window, The” - Monte Cook - 12pag - 4/10
This was the first tale I've read by this author. Unfortunally I didn't enjoy. It's got a good premise but it didn't fullfill me. Basicaly A priest/loremasters brings a rose window to his church from his old church. Other priest notice shadow in the panes. But unfortunally the end didn't conviced me.

“Club Rules, The” - James Lowder - 27 pag - 7/10
This writer has a lot of pseudonyms and a hand full of novels in the forgotten realms bibliography. Well now this story... cliché! A murder happens and the Buttler is accussed. Oh yeah. I enjoy a lot the Buttler personage but the mystery itself... meh.. not so much. The only thing good was the buttler.

“Thieves' Justice” - Mary H Herbert - 28 pag - 5/10
The only book I've read by this author was from another universe called Dragonlance. The book was Legacy of Steel. I've read 6 or 7 years ago. Pretty good... of what I remember. This book yet again the dead is invoked. While stealing a horse, a horse thief and her friend find a dead body. One is accussed of killing and another with the help of a witch tries to find the real killer. Spoilers: She is transformed into a dog to better search for clues. Funny how the other animals think like humans... Not that good this part. The rest of the story is okay. Nothing brillant.

“Ekhar Lorrent: Gnome Detective” - Steven "Stan!" Brown - 16pag - 6/10
This story is kind of odd. One gnome has a sixth sence about the murder and so he investigates the death of a cyclops. The ending was quite good. This story is one of the best.... the author in the end... who is he? Why the name?

“Devil and Tertius Wands, The” - Jeff Grubb - 32pag - 8/10
This was one of the best stories in this novel. A run-away adventurer and his genie set out to reover a stolen heirloon to a beautiful stranger. This story is quite good. The characters are funny and the ending was quite good and unpredicatable. I wish that this author had written a novel or something like that with this characters. This tale reminds me of Terry Prattchet. But better.

“H” - Richard Lee Byers - 21pag - 7.5/10
Like Jeff Grubb he is a prolifiric writer for Wizards of the Coast with many novels under their wing. This tale is quite good as well. A party of several adventurers find themselves with a crime on their hands with only one clue. As each character is killed in turn the question is who is a killer.. This story is quite good. But the killer well not that good and predictable (not the killer but the... being. This being is used in two tales)

Strange Bedfellows” - Keith Francis Strohm - 28pag - 8/10
This tale is one of the crown jewels of this book. Here nothing is what it seems. A old captain is saved by a dark priest of Cyric and together they battle some rebels that are helped by a Lathander priest... Odd no? That's why is interesting... It's odd that is got two novels under his belt. I've got Bladesinger and I shall read it the next following months.

“Whence the Song of Steel” - J. Robert King - 16pag - 8/10
Excelent story. A bodyguard is set to protect two opera singers but one of them kills the other... but nothing is what it seems. This is an excelent story with several twists. The sword Ranjir is quite interesting. Very good tale.

“An Unusual Suspect” - Brian Thomsen - 16pag - 4/10
Well, another story with dopelgangers. This story is not that good. Neither the characters nor the plot. Quite boring

“Darkly, Through a Glass of Ale” - Peter Archer - 20pag - 4/10
Strange story. Not that good for that matter. A merchant sells wine to a inn but then something happens. This story is a bit confusing and I didn't underestant what a heck was happening.

“Lynaelle” - Thomas M. Reid - 25pag - 5/10
Thomas Reid has written several novels in the forgotten realms world. This was one of the first stories he wrote. This story if anything is a bit long. I really hope Reid is better writing novels because I have several of them here. This tale tells us Lynaelle an half-elf orphan that is accused of murdering her own mentor.

“Grinning Ghost of Taverton Hall, The” - Ed Greenwood - 29pag - 7.5/10
Set as the novel he wrote several years before in Cormyr. This novel tells us the tale of a haunted estate by a ghost. This tale has some interesting characters but the plot was simple. The end was good. In the end I was suprised. I've never read any book by Greenwood but I've read some pretty bad reviews with his name. This one was good addition to this novel.


So what do I have to say? It was a good anthology of stories with some quite good but others failing miseraly. In some of them I didn't felt that this was Forgotten Realms. Some of the writers here are quite good and I really hope that some are better in writing full-lenghted novels than writing short stories. Should I read this anthology if new to forgotten realms? Nah. Should I read this novel hoping good mysteries? Maybe. And If I like Forgotten realms? Then yes. You will lose 4 or 5 hours of your life but in the end you will not feel cheated.
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