Magic and Crime Go Hand-in-Hand: Announcing Comeuppance Served Cold by Marion Deeds

Tordotcom Publishing is thrilled to announce that Emily Goldman has acquired World English Rights to Comeuppance Served Cold, a hard-boiled historical fantasy novella by Marion Deeds.

In the wake of the 1929 stock market crash, Seattle’s powerful Commission of Magi is moving against the city’s most vulnerable magic users and merchants under the guise of protecting law-abiding citizens. Meanwhile, an unassuming young lady with hidden skills and a nebulous past named Dolly White enters the employ of the head commissioner’s family as a lady’s companion. Although she has her own agenda to fulfill, it may prove to be the perfect opportunity for one family who’s suffered tremendous loss at the hands of the Commission to get their overdue vengeance.

Said author Marion Deeds:

Dolly White, the main character in Comeuppance Served Cold, is my version of a Dashiell Hammett character. Actually, the whole story is my take on a 1920s detective novel with magic. In Hammett’s world, women were smart, morals were murky, and detectives were disillusioned. People with wealth and power were just as likely to commit crimes as folks at street level… and way more likely to get away with it. (Not much has changed, now that I think about it.) Lots of his characters made their livings in the margin between “lawful” and “lawless,” and were, in some way, outsiders.

I’d already imagined a Jazz Era USA where magic was normal, if regulated, but I didn’t know quite where to set Dolly’s story until I remembered Seattle. Seattle’s full of weird magic, and weird everydayness too. Other cities didn’t have streets that were fifteen feet higher than the sidewalks, for instance—or a functioning underground, perfect for speakeasies. 1920s Seattle was a place of great wealth, great violence, and built-in inequality,. The risks to a powerless outsider were real. Dolly and Seattle–that’s where the story came together.

Said editor Emily Goldman:

Comeuppance Served Cold is filled with some of my favorite things – a female protagonist who’s not interested in being “nice,” an intricately plotted heist, and world-building that effortlessly melds shapeshifting, blood magic, and elementals with the unequal, violent political, racial, and social realities of the Roaring Twenties, couched in the glamor of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Dolly stole my heart from the get-go, and I cannot wait for her to do the same to readers everywhere.

Marion Deeds was born in Santa Barbara, California and moved to northern California when she was five. She loves the redwoods, the ocean, dogs and crows. She’s fascinated by the unexplained, and curious about power: who has it, who gets it, what is the best way to wield it. These questions inform her stories. Deeds has published Aluminum Leaves and Copper Road from Falstaff Books, with short works in Podcastle and several anthologies. She reviews fiction and writes a column for the review site Fantasy Literature.

Comeuppance Served Cold will be available from Tordotcom Publishing in 2022.

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