On the eve of the Queen's coronation, DI Stephens and Max Mephisto uncover an anarchist plot and a ticking bomb at the same time as solving the murder of a man close to them - from the author of the bestselling Dr Ruth Galloway mysteries.
'Mixes cosiness and sharpness in a way that recalls the best of Agatha Christie' - Sunday Express (on Smoke and Mirrors)
Elizabeth II's coronation is looming, but the murder of their wartime commander, Colonel Cartwright, spoils the happy mood for DI Edgar Stephens and magician Max Mephisto. A playbill featuring another deceased comrade is found in Colonel Cartwright's possession, and a playing card, the ace of hearts: the blood card. The wartime connection and the suggestion of magic are for Stephens and Mephisto to be summoned to the case.
Edgar's ongoing investigation into the death of Brighton fortune-teller Madame Zabini is put on hold. Max is busy rehearsing for a spectacular Coronation Day variety show - and his television debut - so it's Edgar who is sent to New York, a land of plenty worlds away from still-rationed England. He's on the trail of a small-town mesmerist who may provide the key, but someone silences him first. It's Edgar's colleague, DS Emma Holmes, who finds the clue, buried in the files of the Zabini case, that leads them to an anarchist group intent on providing an explosive finale to Coronation Day.
Now it's up to Edgar, Max and Emma to foil the plot, and find out who it is who's been dealing the cards . . .
The lively beginning ... broadens out into an excellent whodunnit, matched by the terrific down-at-heel atmosphere of postwar Brighton - The Times (on Smoke and Mirrors)
Original, lively and gripping - Independent (on Smoke and Mirrors)
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)
Mixes cosiness and sharpness in a way that recalls the best of Agatha Christie - Sunday Express (on Smoke and Mirrors)
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.