Disappointing A good idea that rambles on, is repetitive, drags after an absurd ending, and assumes we have much interest in the underdeveloped characters than we have Ms Griffiths thanks her editor goodness knows why as she certainly didn t do her any favours letting this book lose in this mediocre form I ve bought the others three in the series as I have enjoyed her Norfolk books but I pray they are better than this one A young woman s body is found cut into three and Inspect Edgar Stephens is unpleasantly reminded of a magic trick and his old friend the magician Max Mephisto who is currently appearing in Brighton where the remains are discovered Edgar is forced by the murder to look again at his uncomfortable time during World War II as part of a small group of people known as The Magic Men who specialised in camouflage and trickery to defeat the enemy.As people connected with the Magic Men come to sticky ends it seems that someone knows about the group than the surviving members of the group know and everyone is at risk I found this an interesting and well written book with its background of Brighton in 1950 and its flashbacks to World War II.I didn t guess who was the murderer until it was revealed and I thought the plot was well constructed This is the first book in the series and I actually didn t think it was as good as Smoke and Mirrors which is the next book in the series If you enjoy reading this book you will definitely enjoy its successor I am looking forward to reading further books in the series. I bought this book on the strength of my enjoyment of the Ruth Galloway series unfortunately I can t say I have enjoyed it I found it very depressing and it made the 1950s seem very sad and most of the lesser characters came over as very timid or odd from my memories of the 1950s this is not true people were people as they are today all different but normal, and all glad to heve survived the war I don t think I will buy any books from this series as I haven t enjoyed it and gave up after reading half of it. I really enjoyed this Took it to bed for night time reading and then had to stay up late to finish it then feel asleep only to dream about deadly magic tricks I don t know why I do this since my imagination is always active than I am But there I was, in brighton remembering all those shows my mother used to take me too, although not in the 1950s I hasten to add Still the faded magic of these seaside towns was brilliantly evoked.I thought this was a very interesting premise and the fact that Edgar and Max had such links and then had to keep one step ahead of a master trickster killing by magic tricks was a great premise Plus there were no phones etc or technology back then so this was like the great old fashioned cases like Columbo used to solve Involving a similar macabre one involving a guillotine so this was a lot interesting for the time and setting to me.The Tacky lights and music, the faded glamour and the fascinating way in which magic illusions seemed to have been part of the war effort and this was very satisfying indeed.Elly Griffiths says this is a nod to the glory days of the variety and music halls acts and I swear I could still smell the smoke and hear the din as I closed the book.Pop over to the to see all the Brighton Locations in the book as this is great tour to do for real as well well not the gruesome parts but you know what I mean of the authoress Elly Griffiths Who is mostly known for her outstanding books about the anthropo pathologist Ruth Galloway But this one goes way back in England s history five years after the ending of WW II.Brighton, 1950 a girl hacked into three pieces is found in boxes which seem to be stage boxes for a magician Especially for a trick called The Zig Zag GirlEdgar Stephens, a policeman with a history of a past with the Magic Men a special group of soldiers stationed at Inverness in 1945 thinks of his friend Max Mephisto, a great magician They talk about the circumstances and find out, who the murdered woman was And she had solid leads to Max in the past Another of the war comrades, Tony now an entertainer and an ex magician too appears at Brighton for a gig at the same theatre as Max But he is a failure, and right before a meeting with Edgar, he becomes the second victim Soon it will be clear that someone is targeting the Magic Men and people related to them A foto appears, and there they are, all the supposed targets together Tony, Max, Edgar, Bill, the Major, the Great Diablo and Charis, the female commander of the troupe, who died burning on a fake war ship right in 1945.Edgar and Max are investigating the murders, driving from one place to an other to follow possible and almost impossible links And the movements of the Magic Men after the debacle in Inverness And the they look into this horrid story the they see that the killer stages the murders like a magician s tricksThis is a very well researched chrime story with characters far away from being common people Each and every one is really unique, outstanding.Author Elly Griffiths has written a very good book, maybe the beginning of a new series But I have to take away one star, because several hints led me to suspect the real culprit after reading half the book But it was really not to be certain, only at the end I was NOT too surprised to have gotten it right.This mystery is really worth the read, and I would buy a sequel on the spot It is really good for the lovers of history in a crime story. I was a bit hesitant about choosing this book, would the author still be able to capture different characters and locations to her other bookx Surprisingly she has pulled it off Edgar and Max, Diaba o and the others were all very different personalities but the good manners of the time meant they worked so well together and in their own ways I ll certainly look out for of Edgar books. Magic, murder, and a mystery rooted in a murky wartime past Meet DI Stephens and Max Mephisto Brighton,When the body of a girl is found cut into three, Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens, is reminded of a magic trick, the Zig Zag Girl The inventor of the trick, Max Mephisto, is an old friend of Edgar s They served together in the war as part of a shadowy unit called the Magic Men Max is still on the circuit, touring seaside towns in the company of ventriloquists, sword swallowers, and dancing girls Changing times mean that variety is not what it once was, yet Max is reluctant to leave this world to help Edgar investigate But when the dead girl turns out to be known to him, Max changes his mind Another death, another magic trick Edgar and Max become convinced that the answer to the murders lies in their army days When Edgar receives a letter warning of another trick , the Wolf Trap, he knows that they are all in the killer s sights After the Ruth Galloway series I found this a bit slow and boring It doesn t have the good character development that the Galloway book have and the two men Stephens and Mephisto haven t a lot in common with each other and not with the reader.I was disappointed.