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An Antic Disposition by Alan Gordon

Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur  ISBN: 0312300964

Reviewed by Donna Padilla, New Mystery Reader

The tale begins in 12th Century Denmark, which is embroiled in civil war because three different men covet the throne.  Orvendil, a fourth man who wants to be king, patiently awaits the outcome.  Terrence of York, a fool (or jester), is assigned by his superior to watch over Orvendil. 

Orvendil's son Amleth dubs Terrence "Yorick" and begins training with him to learn the arts of the fool.  But when Orvendil and Terrence are murdered, Amleth begins playing the fool as a means of gaining information and revenge.  

This is a marvelous medieval mystery full of murder and mayhem.  It is also amusing and entertaining , as it is a tale woven around the antics and peace loving purposes of the fool. 

Any Shakespeare fan who reads this book is aware of the fact that if Almeth's father had not been murdered by his wife and brother, Amleth would have been the Prince of Denmark. Also, if anyone meets a motley fool, he must pay attention because he is going to hear the truth.   

This book is a page turner that can not be put down until it is read cover to cover.  Bravo, Mr. Gordon!


An Animated Death in Burbank by Michael Joens

Publisher: St. Martin's Minotaur ISBN: 0312307160 

In Burbank, California, bodies connected with the animation industry are turning up dead, and two separate detectives are hard at work on the cases.  Sandy Cameron can’t help but feel her dead animator, Parker Stewart, is somehow connected to Tom Rigby’s case of the dead Wendy Burgess.  And when the third body turns up, the two are soon combining their resources to find the culprit.  So as they investigate the wheelers and dealers of the cartoon industry, they also spend a bit of time investigating their growing feelings for one another, not realizing that one of them may be next on the killer’s list. 

The first in an intended series featuring a different element of Hollywood each time shows promise, but also leaves plenty of room for improvement.  A bit dry, and occasionally tedious, this by-the-book investigative read could use a heady shot of adrenaline.  The characters seem a bit dull, with Sandy especially being too “moral” to add any type of excitement to this sometimes slow-moving plot.  But many should enjoy the burgeoning love story between the principle players, and we will be reading the next, hoping for a quicker-paced story.