Publication year: 1996
Publication year of the Finnish translation: 2007
Format: print
Finnish translator: Mika Kivimäki
Page count: 334
Finnish Publisher: Karisto

Lord Vetinari has been poisoned and it’s up to the City Watch to find out who did it. It looks like the Patrician might not make it and there is a cabal of “upstanding citizens” who want to resurrect the monarchy (again).

Also, someone has murdered two old men who apparently lived humble lives and didn’t have any enemies and the Assassins’ Guild deny any involvement. One of the men was a curator in a museum devoted to dwarfish baking used in fights. Of course, Carrot knew him and was a regular visitor in the museum.

The guard also gets a forensics expert, an alchemist whose job it is to experiment with all unknown substances found at crime scenes and find out what they are. The expert is a dwarf, Cheery Littlebottom, which is pretty unusual, but it turns out that the dwarf is a woman and she wants to do more feminine things than are allowed among dwarfs. This confuses Captain Carrot because in dwarfish culture, men and women dress the same and behave the same. However, Cheery strikes up a friendship with Angua without knowing that she’s a werewolf. When Cheery adds more feminine things to her outfit, we find out that a few of the other dwarven constables are also women, they just haven’t drawn any attention to it. Apparently, among dwarfs is indecent to show ankles.

However, the more serious parts of the book concentrate on the golems. They aren’t considered to be alive so they are used as slave labor which can work all the time and don’t have to be paid. And yet, a lot of people think they are creepy and know that they are up to no good. Vimes also muses about people who obey the law and who don’t, and about rich and poor people. He’s trying to adjust to life as a rich man and being miserable.

This is another enjoyable Discworld book. I particularly enjoyed the breads, cakes, and cupcakes used for fighting and the vampire who works in various normal, but hazardous to him, jobs. Oh, and poor Vimes is plagued by his new organizer. And of course everyone likes Carrot.

Quotes:
“And, while it was regarded as pretty good evidence of criminality to be living in a slum, for some reason owning a whole street of them merely got you invited to the very best social occasions.”

“It was Carrot who’d suggested to the Patrician that hardened criminals should be given the chance to “serve the community” by redecorating the homes of the elderly, lending a new terror to old age and, given Ankh-Morpork’s crime rate, leading to at least one old lady having her front room wallpapered so many times in six months that now she could only get in sideways.”

“You are in favour of the common people?” said Dragon mildly.
The common people?” said Vimes. “They’re nothing special. They’re no different from the rich and powerful except they’ve got no money or power. But the law should be there to balance things up a bit. So I suppose I’ve got to be on their side.”

“Dwarfs regard baking as part of the art of warfare. When they make rock cakes, no simile is intended.”

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