I decided to go with chronological order as I catch up with the Penric series (…”catch up” is probably the wrong term here; perhaps “tread water”), and I’m glad I did. This one features the return of the characters from Penric and the Shaman, set about eight months after that story, so it ties in well with that one.

It’s also something of a genre shift, since we move towards the murder mystery here. It’s still not primarily a mystery, which is good because it’d fall a bit flat on that end. (The title actually gives part of it away, and… you can see what’s coming before the characters do, though Penric is at least getting suspicious before it all gets revealed.)

Still, the shift does help add some much-needed depth to the story, and make it more interesting than the previous two (chronologically). Among other things, we get a larger cast of major and minor characters to fill things out, which has really been needed. And this is in about the same length as Penric’s Demon, which I felt was too short and limited to really do much as a story. This one is a lot more dense, and to me, the most satisfying novella of the series so far.