Cover image for
Title:
The zig zag girl
Author(s):
Griffiths, Elly,
ISBN/ISSN:
0544527941
Personal Author:
Edition:
First U.S. edition.
Physical Description:
328 pages ; 22 cm.
Series:
a Magic Men mystery

Magic men mystery ; bk. 1.
Abstract:
"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 trick--the Zig Zag Girl. The inventor of the trick, Max Mephisto, is an old war friend of Edgar's. 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. He's reluctant to leave this world to help Edgar investigate, but advises him to identify the victim quickly -- it takes a special sidekick to do the Zig Zag Girl. Those words come back to haunt Max when the dead girl turns out to be Ethel, one of his best assistants to date. He's soon at Edgar's side, hunting for Ethel's 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 they're all in the killer's sights" -- provided by publisher.
Pub Date:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015.

©2014
Holds:

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Central - Houston Public Library Adult Mystery Fiction Book GRIFF
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Frank - Houston Public Library Adult Mystery Fiction Book GRIFF
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Summary

Summary

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 who's 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 trick--the Zig Zag Girl. The inventor of the trick, Max Mephisto, is an old war friend of Edgar's. 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. He's reluctant to leave this world to help Edgar investigate, but advises him to identify the victim quickly -- it takes a special sidekick to do the Zig Zag Girl. Those words come back to haunt Max when the dead girl turns out to be Ethel, one of his best assistants to date. He's soon at Edgar's side, hunting for Ethel's 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 they're all in the killer's sights.


Author Notes

ELLY GRIFFITHS is the author of the Ruth Galloway and Magic Men mystery series. She is the recipient of the Mary Higgins Clark Award and the CWA Dagger in the Library Award, and her work has been praised as gripping" (Louise Penny), "captivating," ( Wall Street Journal ) and "must-reads for fans of crime fiction" (Associated Press). She lives in Brighton, England.
"


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The smell at the Brighton train station led the police to find the head and legs of a woman packed in two separate cases. Shortly thereafter, Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens received the torso in a package addressed to him, using his recent WWII rank of captain. The body reminds Stephens of an old magic trick called the Zig Zag Girl, perfected by Max Mephisto, who served together with Edgar in a special army unit called the Magic Men. Another murder attributed to a magic trick amps up the tension and prompts Stephens to draft Mephisto to help with the investigation, especially as it appears that the Magic Men are being targeted by the killer. The setting of the shabby, postwar beach town during the 1950s adds a rich dimension to the novel, both in terms of atmosphere and in giving the story a classic mystery feel crime in a pre-electronic age, before cell phones and DNA, when crimes were solved by face-to-face investigation and inspired deduction. An original plot and appealingly quirky characters round out the appeal of this thoroughly entertaining tale.--Alesi, Stacy Copyright 2015 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Mary Higgins Clark Award-winner Griffiths (The Crossing Places) launches a new series with this engaging mystery set in Brighton, England, in 1950. The Magic Men, a group of stage magicians who performed special missions during WWII, have since gone their separate ways. Only one, Max Mephisto, is still earning top billing on the variety circuit. Others have become a police officer, a wisecracking comedian, a carpenter. The oldest of the group has drifted lower and lower in the profession, performing to bored audiences in sleazy strip clubs. The gruesome murder of a glamorous magician's stage assistant draws the former team back together. The portrayal of the backstage life and the onstage performances of illusionists forms a fascinating backdrop to the main action. Brief flashbacks to the Magic Men's wartime missions provide an equally gripping backstory. As the plot deepens, Griffiths's tone darkens, leading to a series of surprise twists. Readers will look forward to seeing a lot more of Max and company. Agent: Rebecca Carter, Janklow & Nesbit. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Griffiths, acclaimed for her excellent contemporary mysteries featuring forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway (The Ghost Fields), launches a new series set in 1950 Brighton, England. DI Edgar Stephens joined the police force after serving with a unique special ops troop, the Magic Men, that used props and stage tricks to deceive the enemy during World War II. When the body of a woman, cut into three pieces, is found, Edgar is reminded of the Zig Zag Girl magic trick that one of his fellow Magic Men, magician Max Mephisto, performed on stage. Trying to identify the woman and the killer, Edgar seeks Max's help with the investigation. Mysterious notes and a second killing soon make it clear that all of the former Magic Men are in danger, and Edgar and Max need to find the culprit before they're the next victims. VERDICT Griffiths's ability to imbue atmosphere and create fascinating characters continues to make her an author every mystery lover should be reading. Lacking the usual forensics and druids of her previous series, this title may especially appeal to cozy and historical mystery fans. [See Kristi Chadwick's mystery spotlight feature, "Not Your Usual Suspects," LJ 4/15/15.]-Melissa DeWild, BookOps, NYPL © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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