I came across this book on Cleo’s blog. Her review intrigued me enough to get hold of this book.
A box addressed to Captain Edgar Stephens is found in the Left luggage section of the Brighton Railway Station. It contained a body of a girl cut in three, reminiscent in an extremely gruesome way of a magic trick Edgar had once known.
Edgar had been part of a secret mission during the War called the ‘Magic Men’, one of whom, Max Mephisto was the creator of this trick. Edgar was still in touch with his old friend Max, who had gone back to his life in the show business. All his efforts to involve Max to help solve the case falls in deaf ears, as Max didn’t want to get entangled in the world of uniforms, until Max discovers the identity of the girl who died.
Another murder follows and it becomes very clear that the murders are definitely connected to the Magic Men, and Edgar and Max have very little time to find out who is behind this. The plot gets more and more intriguing as the mystery deepens, murders pile up and we follow Edgar and Max into their past, to the time when the Magic Men were active. The time when they had been tasked to trick the Germans into believing that the Allies had more resources and better protected than they actually were, using illusions and magic. All the Magic Men had to be tracked down if they had to get to the bottom of the case.
We follow Edgar and Max as they track down their motley crew of show men and army folk who came together in a secret mission. The most unlikely of people to be part of a team, but which of them were the reason for these murders, if not actually responsible for them?
An interesting murder mystery, an old fashioned one, set in 1950s, with lots of reference to the War times, it was a charming read, which can’t often be said of a murder mystery. The characters were so well drafted. You can’t help love Edgar Stephens. Max, the world-weary, hardened magician was charming in his own way. Each of the characters had depth and nuances that added to the story.
A fast-paced read, with the final unexpected twist that takes you by surprise. I haven’t read Griffiths before, and this was a really good introduction to her writing. I haven’t read this genre in a while and was fun to revisit. I am now tempted to check out other books by the author.
The author meant this book to be a tribute to her grandfather, and I have to say, it is a great one. She has brought out the flavour of those times so beautifully, you can’t help be transported to the post war Britain.
A 4/5 read for me. A book I would definitely recommend.
This book is available from Amazon(UK).