24 February 2024

Review: THE ZIG ZAG GIRL, Elly Griffiths

  •  this large print edition published in 2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • provided by my local library
  • ISBN 978-1-62899-768-2
  • 350 pages
  • #1 A Magic Men Mystery (Brighton Mysteries #1)

Synopsis (author website

Magic, murder and a mystery rooted in a murky wartime past. Meet DI Stephens and Max Mephisto.

Brighton, 1950. 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…

My Take

This story is a treat in many ways. First of all it is by one of my favourite authors. Secondly it is the first of a series that I've hardly touched, so I know I have at least a couple of treats in store.

This is the first in what has become known as the Brighton Mysteries series. The author carefully introduces the main characters, Max Mephisto, and Edgar Stephens, magician and detective, who first came together during World War II in a special unit intended to create illusions to trick Hitler into thinking England was about to invade Norway.

Now, five years after the war, Stephens is a detective in Brighton and Mephisto has gone back to the Variety Halls. They are brought together by a body in 3 parts. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my outing.

My rating: 4.8

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