A Murder of Mages by Marshall Ryan Maresca

a-murder-of-mages-by-marshall-ryan-marescaA Murder of Mages by Marshall Ryan Maresca
Series: The Maradaine Constabulary #1
Genre: Fantasy Mystery
Setting: Maradaine
Published by DAW, 2015
E-book, purchased
352 pages
Grade: B
Synopsis: A Murder of Mages marks the debut of Marshall Ryan Maresca’s novels of The Maradaine Constabulary, his second series set amid the bustling streets and crime-ridden districts of the exotic city called Maradaine. A Murder of Mages introduces us to this spellbinding port city as seen through the eyes of the people who strive to maintain law and order, the hardworking men and women of the Maradaine Constabulary.

Satrine Rainey—former street rat, ex-spy, mother of two, and wife to a Constabulary Inspector who lies on the edge of death, injured in the line of duty—has been forced to fake her way into the post of Constabulary Inspector to support her family.

Minox Welling is a brilliant, unorthodox Inspector and an Uncircled mage—almost a crime in itself. Nicknamed “the jinx” because of the misfortunes that seem to befall anyone around him, Minox has been partnered with Satrine because no one else will work with either of them.

Their first case together—the ritual murder of a Circled mage— sends Satrine back to the streets she grew up on and brings Minox face-to-face with mage politics he’s desperate to avoid. As the body count rises, Satrine and Minox must race to catch the killer before their own secrets are exposed and they, too, become targets.

“Let me see you, Mama.”

Satrine had the coat half on. “What do you mean?”

Caribet gestured vaguely at her. “Like that. Coat on.” Satrine finished dressing. “You look like a real Inspector, Mama.”

“I am a real inspector, honey,” Satrine said.


Lucky and happened to be are terms I find troubling, Inspector Rainey. In my experience, coincidence rarely occurs naturally.”


  • I love that this is a fantasy and mystery. Two of my favorite genres! And a police procedural mystery which is the sub-genre I’m enjoying right now.
  • I read the first book about Maradaine–The Thorn of Dentonhill–a few weeks ago and though I liked it there were also some things that didn’t work for me. I like this book better. I think I relate better to the Maradaine Constabulary!
  • The author has done an amazing job with the world building in these books. The world, the society, people are all fully fleshed out.
  • The title–A Murder of Mages–is very clever. Made me smile.
  • The characterizations are so good–not just the main characters, but also so many of the supporting characters as well.
  • The book is told mostly from Satrine’s point of view, but also from Minox Welling’s. I like the contrast between their lives.
  • Satrine is bold, intelligent and resourceful–willing to do whatever she has to for her family.
  • Satrine’s husband is a Constabulary inspector who was injured while on duty. He’s alive, but totally unable to care for himself. Satrine has to support the family (her husband and two daughters) now since there is no one else able to. She manages to get hired as an inspector in the Castabulary, Even when there are no other women inspectors. Of course, she has to lie to do this, but she’s desperate.
  • Her Constabulary partner–Minox Welling–is unorthodox and brilliant. He isn’t satisfied with easy answers and he figures out Satrine is lying from the start, but since she’s the best partner he’s ever had he doesn’t care.
  • I like the differences with Satrine’s home life and her professional life. And between Minox’s home life–he comes from a police family, lives in a multi-generational family and has a hard time getting any peace and quiet–and Satrine’s home.
  • I think the author does a good job writing a very different book from the first book set in Maradaine. I like there are a few mentions of the Thorn and other things which happen in The Thorn of Dentonhill.


  • The mystery fell apart for me by the end of the book. However, I like the characters and world building so much the book still works for me.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I love the world created in these books. I want to read the next book in this series.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Marshall Ryan Maresca is a fantasy and science-fiction writer, author of The Thorn of Dentonhill and A Murder of Mages, both released by DAW Books in 2015.  He grew up in upstate New York and studied film and video production at Penn State. He now lives Austin with his wife and son. His work appeared in Norton Anthology of Hint Fiction and Rick Klaw’s anthology Rayguns Over Texas. He also has had several short plays produced and has worked as a stage actor, a theatrical director and an amateur chef.

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