Title: The Mercury Division
Author: Lynda Collins
Genre: Urban fantasy – short story
Rating: Four stars
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Until I get back into a good reading schedule, I may throw a few short stories into my review section every so often. Today is one of those days!
Magical Crime Scene Investigation is an anthology published by Otter Libris who included my story, Arm-In-Arm With Alchemy a few years ago. A fun project, for sure, that got me in touch with a bunch of budding new authors like me. Today I’ll be reviewing one of the other stories in this set: The Mercury Division by Lynda Collins.
This story follows Elizabeth Mary Shelley, descendant of the author Mary Shelley, despite what history tells us about her lineage (which ends with her son, Percy). As a member of the Shelley family, Elizabeth has inherited a power to see and talk to the dead, which has helped her earn a place in the Mercury Division as a detective. This magical policing division deals with supernatural homicides, and Elizabeth is about to walk onto the crime scene of one of the largest in a long time.
An entire hotel full of people have died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Not suspicious at all, until it is discovered that every body has had their blood and organs removed. After visiting her vampire contact, Elizabeth realises they could be dealing with guhls, horrible creatures with an aversion to light and a taste for human innards. All the hotel gusts may be dead, but all the police personnel swarming the building are still very much there, and there is an unnerving chance that the guhls never left…
This was a fun story to read: unpredictable and with plenty of original elements, not to mention some awesome world-building. A few things snagged as I read though, including chances of tense from past to present but only on the first page. Also, the fact that Elizabeth is a descendant of Mary Shelley is mentioned a lot, including a guhl referring to Elizabeth as a “weak” Shelley. But we don’t have a concept of how strong or weak people in the Shelley family are as there is no mention of any of their deeds, occupations, or powers.
I would certainly read more stories about this character, as her lineage promises a lot of rich history, and her occupation promises even more magical crime scenes. I may go in search of the author’s backlist, just in case she has released any more stories featuring Elizabeth Shelley.
Magical Crime Scene Investigation is still available on Amazon, but it has become a bit pricey in recent years. But I can vouch for all the stories (if not necessarily my own), and they are great reads!
Thanks for reading! Did you know I also write urban fantasy books? Check them out here!