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Literature / In The Snows Of Haz

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In a small town in the far north of the Empire, a well-dressed and wealthy stranger is murdered in the street. Suspicion falls on a local Creepy Child, and schoolteacher Linna Nyx tries to intervene on his behalf. Soon she, her students, and the police are all pursuing parallel investigations into what could have happened.

And then things get progressively worse and twistier, as their investigations turn up a conspiracy against the throne, a secret royal, and kidnappings, among other things.

In the Snows of Haz is a mystery novella set in a fantasy world. It was published in 2016, and appears to be the first book in a series. It was written by Maxine Janerka, who also writes for Choice of Games. Spoilers galore below, as is inevitable for a mystery.

Tropes Include:

  • Agent Peacock: Elias goddamn Tenri is a secret agent. And a pretty good one, at that.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: It's implied around Bel and Esmine, again. Both kids and adults don't really seem to know what to do with them.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Linna, her students, even Lem to some extent. That's part of the problem. Also part of the solution, as the villain just straight up loses track of who has what and when.
  • The Dandy: Elias Tenri, fwooshy cape, awful metaphors, and all. It's - mostly - a façade; he's actually a very competent and rather hands-on secret agent.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Everyone calls Linna some variant of "Professor". Justified— it seems to be a cultural thing in-universe.
  • Hidden Backup Prince: Riccio is one of these, stashed in Haz Gate for safekeeping.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Imperial Inspector Luz Vinsia comes swooping in to save the day, near the end.
    • Doesn't Bel seem like a good companion for the beastly Esmine?
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Finding Dimali's murderer → leads to foiling a plot to topple The Empire.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Demon of Haz Gate. The Brotherhood of Truth.
  • Psychologist Teacher: Linna has a keen eye for this stuff, though the book is too short of her to really get involved in her students' lives.
  • Purple Prose: Almost everything to come out of Elias Tenri's mouth. He does manage to cut the crap when necessary, though.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Esmine is cold, analytical, and creepy, while his sister Selette is a sweet and friendly kid.
  • "Uh-Oh" Eyes: Esmine, Esmine, Esmine.