A fine feathered fiend...
A magical maniac is loose in Alanda. The victims are always women, always lower-class, and the weapon is always a three-sides stiletto, most often found among church regalia. But the killers are never churchmen, and they always commit suicide immediately after the bloody deed.
Tal Rufen is just a simple constable. But he really cares about his job, and when one of these muder/suicides happens on his beat he becomes obsessed. His superiors don't care - the victims will never be missed, and their murderers are already justly dead. But every instinct Tal Rufen has cries out that he has seen only one small piece of a bigger and much nastier puzzle.
Mercedes Ritchie Lackey (born 1950) is an American writer of fantasy novels. Many of her novels and trilogies are interlinked and set in the world of Velgarth, mostly in and around the country of Valdemar. Her Valdemar novels form a complex tapestry of interaction between human and non-human protagonists with many different cultures and social mores.
Her other main world is one much like our own, but it includes clandestine populations of elves, mages, vampires, and other mythical beings. The Bedlam's Bard books describe a young man with the power to work magic through music; the SERRAted Edge books are about racecar driving elves; and the Diana Tregarde thrillers center on a Wiccan who combats evil.
She has also