Terry Pratchett,
Feet of Clay
(Corgi, 1997)

The City Watch returns to duty in Terry Pratchett's novel Feet of Clay, and there's plenty of trouble in Ankh-Morpork that requires their attention. Two nice old men were murdered without approval from the Assassin's Guild, some one is poisoning the Patrician, and the controlled substance "Slab" is wreaking havoc among the troll community. All that may not seem strange if you're a fan of the Discworld series, but there are also huge poorly-crafted creatures made from pottery, Golems, that seem to be revolting against their respective owners and the citizens.

All of the familiar City Watch characters return to search for Clues with a capital C. Commander Sam Vimes, who's still adapting to being Sir Samuel as the husband of a wealthy socialite, considers the Patrician's arsenic sickness with a logic that implicates the commander himself as a prime suspect. Sergeant Detritus heads up the Slab campaign with heavy-handed troll authority, while ingenuous Captain Carrot, his werewolf girlfriend Constable Angua and the rest of the crew pursue solutions to the murders.

The plotlines intertwine in a well-crafted mystery, but it's the witty character development that's the most entertaining. Constable Angua is especially intriguing in this installment as she ponders her feminine as well as her canine sides. A dwarf with the unfortunate name of Cherry Littlebottom facilitates these girl-talk sessions as she joins the force as a chemist. A new character (to me, anyway), the minuscule ratcatcher "Wee Mad Arthur," also adds fresh perspective to the Ankh-Morpork surroundings.

Though it enhances the fun to fully understand the background of these characters, it's not necessary to have read the previous Discworld books. Feet of Clay stands well in its own ill-shod boots. Though it's not easy to find, this book is worth the search.

[ by Julie Bowerman ]

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