The eleven tales that comprise the Lord Darcy series of Randall Garrett provide a combination of fantasy, detective fiction, and alternate history. They take place in the twentieth century. The focus of them is the Angevin Empire ruled by the Plantegenet dynasty. It is largely comprised of England, France, New England (North America) and New France (South America). Its chief rival is the Kingdom of Poland. In this word magic exists and is “scientific” in the sense that it works, is systematized, and research yields new spells and the like. Lord Darcy himself is a brilliant detective, the chief investigator for the Duke of Nomandy. His sidekick is a master sorceror, Sean O’Lochlainn.
The stories are fun to read and do not lack humor. In fact, the sole novel, “Too Many Magicians,” is, in part, a parody of the Nero Wolfe tales of Rex Stout (which I have written of previously: http://www.stkarnick.com/blog/post/flummery-of-a-fine-sort-the-nero-wolfe-tales-of-rex-stout). Religion plays a role but Garrett, though he was a priest of the Old Catholic Church, does not use it in a didactic or propagandistic way as was sometimes done by G. K. Chesterton in his Father Brown tales. I think the stories are stronger as fantasies and alternative history than as detective stories. Lord Darcy himself is nothing approaching a fully realzed character. In truth, he is little more than a cipher; but that is about the only criticism I can make of these frothy stories.