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 enough for him to put Stephens and Mephisto on the case. Edgar's 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 else silences him first
Available at several branches, see below.
The lively beginning ... broadens out intoan excellent whodunnit,matched by the terrific down-at-heel atmosphere of postwar Brighton
The Times (on Smoke and Mirrors)||Mixes cosiness and sharpness in a way thatrecalls the best of Agatha Christie
Sunday Express (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)||Original,lively and gripping
Independent (on The Zig Zag Girl)