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Snuff
Terry Pratchett
HarperCollins, 416 pages

Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett lives in Somerset, England, where he spends all his time, and more, writing his rigorously naturalistic, curiously entertaining, shamelessly popular Discworld novels which have earned him extravagant acclaim and puzzled stares from millions of readers around the world.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Wit & Wisdom of Discworld
SF Site Review: Terry Pratchett's Hogfather: The Illustrated Screenplay
SF Site Review: Going Postal
SF Site Review: The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch
SF Site Review: The Art of Discworld
SF Site Review: Terry Pratchett's Discworld Collector's Edition 2005
SF Site Review: Going Postal
SF Site Review: Monstrous Regiment
SF Site Review: The Wee Free Men
SF Site Review: The New Discworld Companion
SF Site Review: Night Watch
SF Site Review: The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents
SF Site Review: Thief of Time
SF Site Review: Nanny Ogg's Cookbook
SF Site Reading List: Terry Pratchett
SF Site Review: The Truth
SF Site Review: City Watch Trilogy
SF Site Review: The Fifth Elephant
SF Site Review: The Discworld Assassins' Guild Yearbook and Diary 2000
SF Site Review: The Science of Discworld
SF Site Review: The Last Continent
SF Site Review: Hogfather
SF Site Review: Jingo
SF Site Review: Feet of Clay
SF Site Review: Maskerade

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Charlene Brusso

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Snuff If ever there was a man who was married to his job, it's Ankh-Morpork City Watch Commander Sam Vimes. There's only one thing that could get him to take a break from policing the dirty cobbles, as well as his own mismatched but proven police force, and that's an order, however gently worded, from his beloved wife, Lady Sybil Ramkin.

As much as Vimes loves Sybil (he's already given up eating bacon, and drippings, and a hundred other tasty things, on her insistence) and his precocious 6-year-old son ("Young Sam", currently obsessed with all things involving "poo"), Vimes would rather do just about anything than rusticate for two long weeks at Ramkin Hall, the family's antiquated country estate. This is not the place for a man who "mildly disapproved of trees" and distrusts ground that squelches underfoot.

Things don't begin well. The servants are confused by Vimes' egalitarian manner: why does he keep wanting to shake hands, or speak to them as if they were real people? The local gentry is more than a little suspicious of Vimes' lack of proper aristocratic attitude; when they tell him "it's all about getting the daughters married to suitable gentlemen," he wonders why the girls can't just learn a skill and get jobs and self-respect.

Fortunately, "Where there are policeman, there's crime" and it doesn't take Sam long to sniff out suspicious doings in the seemingly innocent countryside. Someone has murdered a goblin girl, an act of little importance to most people as goblins are regarded as smelly, dirty, and subhuman at best. But justice is justice, and goblins are people too, and murderers do not go unpunished -- not if Commander Vimes has anything to say about it. Aided by local Chief Constable Feeney Upshot and his own gentleman Willikins ("who'd make a bloody good copper if it wasn't for the fact that he was a bloody good assassin"), Vimes does what Vimes does best, and woe to anyone who gets in their way.

As always, Terry Pratchett finds plenty of ways to skewer tradition and stuffy propriety, winking at Jane Austen even as he has Vimes scratching his head at the idea of keeping an official estate hermit (complete with grotto). Not many writers can tackle genocide, women's rights, and class warfare as neatly -- and wryly -- as the author does here. When Vimes insists "One law, ladies and gentlemen....One size fits all!" it's hard not to raise a fist and shout, "Huzzah!"

Copyright © 2012 Charlene Brusso

Charlene's sixth grade teacher told her she would burn her eyes out before she was 30 if she kept reading and writing so much. Fortunately he was wrong. Her work has also appeared in Aboriginal SF, Amazing Stories, Dark Regions, MZB's Fantasy Magazine, and other genre magazines.


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