Death of a Musketeer
By Sarah D'Almeida
First published: 2006
Series: Musketeers Mystery # 1
Read: 14-17 January 2014
Amazon | Goodreads
A dead woman in an alley in the Paris of Louis XIII would not occasion much consternation. Unless the dead woman looked like the Queen of France and was discovered by Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D'Artagnan. Suspecting a plot of Cardinal Richelieu, the three musketeers and their new friend plunge into the investigation of murder, only to find that the matter is both stranger and more dangerous than they could have imagined. Caught in a web of intrigue and death, the four friends will have trouble staying alive, much less solving the crime. (Amazon)
I have been a huge fan of the story of The Three Musketeers ever since I saw the Disney movie with Kiefer Sutherland and Chris O'Donnell at the cinema in 1993 (still one of my favourite films). With the new BBC series The Musketeers starting tomorrow, I was looking for something to put me in the right mood when I came across Sarah D'Almeida's (better known as Sarah A. Hoyt) Death of a Musketeer, the first book in a series of five.
The book starts in the same way as Alexandre Dumas' original story, with D'Artagnan running into the musketeers and landing himself a duel with each of them. From there the story turns into a murder investigation when the comrades discover a beautiful woman in musketeer uniform dead in an alley.
The mystery itself ended up feeling a bit far-fetched with all the look-alikes and relations, and the climax didn't exactly make my heart race. But even if the main plot left a little to be desired, I enjoyed the characterizations that much more. The POV switches between each of the four main characters, and we get a look into their minds and backstories. Now, it's been many years since I read Dumas' story, so exactly how the details in Death of a Musketeer differ from the original, I can't say. But this doesn't matter anyway, as the information in D'Almeida's book fits nicely into her story. Athos, Porthos, Aramis and D'Artagnan are all portrayed just as I remember them, and their different personalities are easy to distinguish from each other.
The book is humourous with funny dialogue and the characters' observations of the others. I was frequently chuckling to myself over the bickering between the musketeers, and the running gag of Aramis "knowing a man":
"Aramis sighed. 'I know a man,' he said. Athos smiled, but managed not to say that this was strange as, in fact, Aramis normally knew women."Bottom line: As a murder mystery Death of a Musketeer could have been better, but the characters and humour make it well worth a read.