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Authors: Eric Flint,Mike Resnick

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The Dragon Done It

BOOK: The Dragon Done It
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The Dragon Done It
edited by Eric Flint
and Mike Resnick

 
This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental.
 
Introduction copyright © 2008 by Eric Flint & Mike Resnick. "The Long and Short of It" copyright © 2008 by Mike Resnick. "The Witch's Murder" copyright © 2008 by Dave Freer and Eric Flint. See also acknowledgements page for further copyright information.
 
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form.
 
A Baen Books Original
 
Baen Publishing Enterprises
P.O. Box 1403
Riverdale, NY 10471
www.baen.com
 
ISBN 10: 1-4165-5528-5
ISBN 13: 978-1-4165-5528-5
 
Cover art by Bob Eggleton
 
First printing, March 2008
 
Distributed by Simon & Schuster
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
 
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
The dragon done it / edited by Eric Flint and Mike Resnick.
       p. cm.
  A cross-genre collection of stories by popular writers.
  ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-5528-5 (hc)
  ISBN-10: 1-4165-5528-5 (hc)
1. Detective and mystery stories, American. 2. Fantasy fiction, American. I. Flint, Eric. II. Resnick, Michael D.
PS648.D4D73 2008
813'.087208--dc22
                                                            2007051120 
Pages by Joy Freeman (www.pagesbyjoy.com)
Printed in the United States of America

Baen Books by Eric Flint

Ring of Fire series:

1632
by Eric Flint
1633
by Eric Flint & David Weber
1634: The Baltic War
by Eric Flint & David Weber
Ring of Fire
ed. by Eric Flint
1634: The Galileo Affair
by Eric Flint & Andrew Dennis
1635: The Ram Rebellion
by Eric Flint and Virginia DeMarce et al.
1635: The Cannon Law
by Eric Flint & Andrew Dennis
1634: The Bavarian Crisis
by Eric Flint & Virginia DeMarce
Grantville Gazette
ed. by Eric Flint
Grantville Gazette II
ed. by Eric Flint
Grantville Gazette III
ed. by Eric Flint
Grantville Gazette IV
ed. by Eric Flint
Ring of Fire II
ed. by Eric Flint
 

Joe's World series:

The Philosophical Strangler
Forward the Mage
(with Richard Roach)
 

Standalone titles:

Mother of Demons
Crown of Slaves
(with David Weber)
The Course of Empire
(with K.D. Wentworth)
Mountain Magic
(with Ryk E. Spoor, David Drake & Henry Kuttner)
 

With Mercedes Lackey & Dave Freer:

The Shadow of the Lion This Rough Magic

With Dave Freer:

Rats, Bats & Vats The Rats, The Bats & The Ugly
 
Pyramid Scheme Pyramid Power
 

With David Drake:

The Tyrant
 

The Belisarius Series with David Drake:

An Oblique Approach In the Heart of Darkness
Destiny's Shield Fortune's Stroke
The Tide of Victory The Dance of Time
 

Edited by Eric Flint

The World Turned Upside Down
(with David Drake & Jim Baen)
The Best of Jim Baen's Universe
The Best of Jim Baen's Universe II
 
 

Copyright information for
The Dragon Done It

This is the first publication of "The Long and the Short of It."

"Dead Wolf in a Hat" was first published in
Realms of Fantasy
, October 2005'

"This Town Ain't Big Enough" was first published in
Vampire Slayers
, ed. By M. Greenberg and E. A. Scarborough, Cumberland House 1995.

"The Case of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds" was first published in
Knave
, 1984.

"The Whistling Room" was first published in
The Idler
, March 1910.

"Doppelgangster" was first published in
Murder by Magic
, ed. Rosemary Edghill, Warner Aspect 2004.

"Claus of Death" was first published in
Slipstreams,
ed. John Helfers and Martin Greenberg, DAW 2006.

"McNamara's Fish" was first published in
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction,
July 1963.

"Gunsel and Gretel" was first published in
The Mammoth Book of Awesome Comic Fantasy
, ed. Mike Ashley, Robinson 2001.

"Alimentary, My Dear Watson" was first published in
Sherlock Holmes

in Orbit
, ed. Mike Resnick and Martin Greenberg, DAW 1995.

"Fox Tails" was first published in
Realms of Fantasy
, June 2005.

"A Case of Identity" was first published in
Analog,
September 1964.

"The Case of the Skinflint's Specters" was first published in
Christmas

Ghosts
, ed. Mike Resnick and Martin Greenberg, DAW 1993.

"The Black Bird" was first published in
New Voices in Science Fiction
, ed. Mike Resnick, DAW 2003.

"The Enchanted Bunny" was first published in
The Undesired Princess and the Enchanted Bunny
, Baen Books 1990.

"The Adventure of the Pearly Gates" was first published in
Sherlock Holmes in Orbit
, ed. Mike Resnick and Martin Greenberg, DAW 1995.

"The Seventh Chapter" was first published in
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction,
September 1997.

"The Detective of Dreams" was first published in
Dark Forces
, ed. Kirby McCauley, Viking Press 1980.

This is the first publication of "The Witch's Murder."

 

 

Editors' Introduction

It was simply a fortunate confluence of events. Mike had just edited a pair of science fiction mystery anthologies—
Down These Dark Spaceways
and
Alien Crimes
—for the Science Fiction Book Club. Not too long ago Eric had edited a massive collection of Randall Garrett's beloved Lord Darcy stories, the first edition in history that puts all the stories together.

In short, both of us were thinking along the same lines: science fiction, fantasy, mystery. And it occurred to us that, to the best of our knowledge, no one has yet put together an anthology of fantasy detective stories, as opposed to science fiction mysteries. It seemed hard to believe, since there are certainly enough examples out there, going back at least to the works of Poe and to the hinted-at but never-written Sherlock Holmes tale of "The Giant Rat of Sumatra." So we got together, approached Jim Baen with the idea, and got a contract—one of the very last he issued before his untimely death.

Probably the two most famous fantasy sleuths are Lord Darcy, and Seabury Quinn's Jules de Grandin, who appeared in 121 stories in the old
Weird Tales
magazine. We were very familiar with the Darcy stories, but hadn't read the Quinn stories in decades. So Eric read half of them and Mike read the other half, and we came to the unhappy conclusion that they're a little too dated and a little too clumsily written.

Having anchored the volume with one of the best Lord Darcy stories, we went a-hunting—and came up with stories by such superstars as Neil Gaiman, Harry Turtledove, Gene Wolfe, and David Drake. We resurrected a story by William Hope Hodgson, recent winner of the Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award, which was as old as the Jules de Grandin stories but read a lot better. Agatha Christie proved long ago that the detective story is not the private property of male writers, and we picked up fine stories from Esther Friesner, Tanya Huff, and Laura Resnick, then rounded out the book with another seven stories.

We then looked at what we had. We felt they were a fine batch of stories but that perhaps something was missing. Since we each had written our own series of fantasy detective tales over the years, we decided to make this an even more unique collection by writing brand-new novelettes featuring our detectives, and start and finish the book with those two brand-new stories.

So Mike wrote a new John Justin Mallory story, which is now the sixth novelette to go along with the original Mallory novel,
Stalking the
Unicorn
. Those have been published in
The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
and
Black Gate Magazine
, and the anthologies
Newer York, A Christmas Bestiary
, and
Masters of Fantasy
. He's still negotiating the contract as we write these words, but he will be writing at least two more Mallory novels in the very near future. Eric and Dave Freer wrote a new novelette in the Heirs of Alexandria fantasy series they're doing with Mercedes Lackey (
Shadow of the Lion, A Mankind Witch, This Rough
Magic, Much Fall of Blood—
with at least three more novels coming).

We hope you enjoy the anthology. We think the most interesting thing about it is that, given the rules of each magical venue, the authors play as fair with the reader as Dashiell Hammett or Rex Stout ever did. Which is harder than you think in a universe filled with witches, goblins, and dragons.

Eric & Mike
December, 2006

 

The Long and Short of It
A John Justin Mallory Story
Mike Resnick

John Justin Mallory was having a bad day.

He'd gone out to Jamaica and picked the wrong horse six races in a row, a feat made even more remarkable by the fact that his favorite, Flyaway, who had lost fifty-four consecutive races, wasn't even entered.

When he'd stopped by Joey Chicago's for a drink on the way home, he found out they were all out of Old Peculiar and that some irate mage had hexed the tap on the Old Washensox.

He decided to eat at Morgan the Gorgon's 2-Star Diner and Hardware Store, made what he thought was a funny crack about wanting to eat Can't Miss, who had just missed by sixty-three lengths with Mallory's twenty dollars riding on him, and got a steak so rare that he could still see the jockey's whip marks.

Finally he went back to the office, where with his partner Winnifred Carruthers he plied his trade as a private detective. Winnifred had gone home for the night, and he plopped down wearily in his chair, briefly looked at the Playmate he'd pinned up on the wall (and on which Winnifred had meticulously drawn undergarments), and considered taking a hit from the office bottle, which shared a drawer with his collection of old
Racing
Forms
and garish pulp magazines.

"Welcome back," said Perriwinkle, his magic mirror. "How much did you lose today? You
did
lose, didn't you? I mean, I haven't noticed the stars stopping in their courses or anything like that."

"If there's one thing I hate, it's a lippy mirror."

"I have no lips."

"Details, details," muttered Mallory.

"Let me show you something to relax you," suggested the mirror.

"An old Bettie Page striptease might be nice," said Mallory.

"Mundane," said Perriwinkle contemptuously. "But if you must see a stripper, how about Tassle-Twirling Tessie Twinkle, the Lizard Girl? She removes her skin four times a night, and five on Saturdays."

"Please," said Mallory. "I almost just ate."

"Okay, hurt my feelings, spit on my offerings," said the mirror. "See if I care."

It fell silent, and began displaying a 1934 Southwest Association game between the Phoenix Pompadours and the Great Falls Geldings.

"Wonderful," said Mallory. He spent the next half hour opening his mail, which consisted entirely of unpaid bills, except for an ad to eat at Cannibal Joe's new all-night diner, which moved to a new location each day (or oftener if necessary). He finally finished, made a paper plane out of the heating bill, and gently tossed it toward the fireplace on the far wall. It got halfway there when a graceful figure that at first seemed human but was definitely feline launched itself from its perch atop the refrigerator in the next room and snared the bill in her mouth.

"If you like it, I have a dozen more," said Mallory dryly. "I'll even pour a little mustard on them for you."

"I thought it was a little white bird," said the cat person, spitting the bill onto the floor. "A fat little white bird. A fat helpless little white bird. A delicious fat helpless . . ."

"Spare me the catalog of its virtues."

"All right," she said, hopping lightly onto his desk and lying on her stomach. "Skritch between my shoulder blades."

"I've been meaning to ask you for some time now, Felina," said Mallory. "What exactly is the difference between scratching and skritching?"

Felina reached out a hand, extended her fingers, and suddenly a two-inch claw shot out of each. "
I
scratch," she said. "
You
skritch."

He reached out and skritched her back. Then suddenly she sat up.

"Let me guess," he said. "I did it wrong."

"Shhh!" she hissed. "They're arguing."

Mallory looked around the empty office. "Who's arguing?"

"Them."

"I don't see anyone."

BOOK: The Dragon Done It
11.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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