One of Entertainment Weekly's 10 Great Fall Thrillers Clever, immensely likeable...Captivating. The Wall Street Journal
In the first installment of a compelling new series by Elly Griffiths featuring Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens and the magnificent Max Mephisto, a band of magicians who served together in World War II track a killer whos performing their deadly tricks.
Brighton, 1950. The body of a girl is found cut into three pieces. Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens is convinced the killer is mimicking a famous magic trickthe Zig Zag Girl. The inventor of the trick, Max Mephisto, is an old war friend of Edgars. They served together in a shadowy unit called the Magic Men, a special ops troop that used stage tricks to confound the enemy.
Max is on the traveling show circuit, touring seaside towns with ventriloquists, sword-swallowers and dancing girls. Hes reluctant to leave this world to help Edgar investigate, but advises him to identify the victim quickly it takes a special sidekickto do the Zig Zag Girl. Those words come back to hauntMax when the dead girl turns out to be Ethel, one of his best assistants to date. Hes soon at Edgars side, hunting for Ethels killer.
Another death, another magic trick: Edgar and Max are sure the answer to the murders lies in their army days. And when Edgar receives a letter warning of another trick on the way the Wolf Trap he knows theyre all in the killers sights.