Murder At Midnight by Avi.
Scholastic Press: NY, 2009.

This mystery is different in that it takes place in 1490 Italy. The concept of a printing press seems like magic to the small town of Pergamontio. Magic is illegal by order of King Claudius, so the appearance of multiple exact copies of a seditious paper prompts the jailing of the local magician, Mangus. Fabrizio, an unwanted servant boy of Mangus, filled with awe and faithfulness for Mangus, is caught in the thick of the intrigue when he tries to assist his master.

Caught between the power play of the mysterious Count Scarazoni and Signor DeLaBina, the chief magistrate of Pergamontio, Fabrizio is enlisted in an exciting adventure, requiring all of his abilities and a bit of illusion to prove his master's innocence. Through his investigations, he meets the daughter and printer's devil of the traveling printers. Fabrizio befriends Maria and enlists her help in the adventure.

The details regarding the medieval setting a large part of the charm. I also enjoyed the interaction between Fabrizio and Maria and the appearances of the Count.

Murder At Midnight is a companion novel to Midnight Magic.

related-magicians, orphans, Renaissance Italy, mysteries and detective stories, printing press

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