Chilling murder in the world of 1950s theatre - another case for DI Stephens and Max Mephisto.
Brighton, winter 1951. Max Mephisto's star pantomime turn in Aladdin has been overshadowed by the murder of two local children. With fairy tales in the air, it's not long before the press have found a nickname for the case: 'Hansel and Gretel'.
DI Edgar Stephens has plenty of leads to investigate. The missing girl, Annie, used to write plays and perform them with her friends. Does the clue lie in Annie's unfinished - and rather disturbing - last script? Or might it lie with the eccentric theatricals who have assembled for the pantomime?
Once again Edgar enlists Max's help in penetrating the shadowy theatrical world that seems to hold the key. But is this all just classic misdirection?
An excellent whodunnit, matched by the terrific down-at-heel atmosphere of postwar Brighton - The Times
Griffiths evokes with some skill the seedy allure of the provincial theatre and the drabness of a Britain that is still rationed - Sunday Times
Mixes cosiness and sharpness in a way that recalls the best of Agatha Christie and has a feel for showfolk worthy of Ngaio Marsh - Sunday Express
Original, lively and gripping - Independent (on The Zig Zag Girl)
Enormously engaging ... Post-war Brighton and its Theatre Royal are beautifully captured in all their seedy glory ... subtle, charming and very good - Daily Mail (on The Zig Zag Girl)
Elly Griffiths was born in London. She worked in publishing before becoming a full-time writer. Her bestselling series of Dr Ruth Galloway novels, featuring a forensic archaeologist, are set in Norfolk. The series has won the CWA Dagger in the Library, and has been shortlisted three times for the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Her Brighton-based mystery series is set in the 1950s and 1960s. She lives near Brighton with her husband, an archaeologist, and their two grown children.