Ruse: Enter the Detective
by Mark Waid, Butch Guice
(CrossGen, 2002)

My second foray into the CrossGen world took me to Partington, a city much like Victorian London, and introduced me to Simon Archard, a detective much like Sherlock Holmes. Archard is a genius, his logical mind honed to a razor-sharp edge, and he is able to make huge leaps of logic that invariably solve the crime. (Only the first such deduction is a disappointment; the relationship of the clues to the criminal are never explained, and I don't like it when I'm not let in on the joke.)

Enter the Detective is the first book from CrossGen's Ruse series, and it finds Archard faced with a case that involves sorcery -- a touchy subject, since he doesn't believe in the stuff. Fortunately, his Watsonian sidekick, the beautiful Emma Bishop, has no such prejudices and helps to sort out the details when the arrogant Archard's back is turned.

The plot, involving the worldly and mysterious Miranda Cross and her special box of snuff, is entertaining and presents Archard with a suitable challenge while introducing readers to the world and supporting characters of Ruse. More intriguing, however, is the undisclosed backstory of Emma Bishop, whose sorcery is apparently related to a secret game involving disembodied voices -- who, unfortunately, adhere to rules that prevent her from using her powers! A second subplot involves Archard's previous assistant, grist I can only assume for a later story arc.

Ruse looks to be a fun, mind-challenging series, and I look forward to reading future collections to see how it evolves!

- Rambles
written by Tom Knapp
published 17 May 2003

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