Brighton, winter 1951. Pantomime season is in full swing on the pier with Max Mephisto starring in Aladdin, but Max's headlines have been stolen by the disappearance of two local children. When they are found dead in the snow, surrounded by sweets, it's not long before the press nickname them 'Hansel and Gretel'. DI Edgar Stephens has plenty of leads to investigate. The girl, Annie, used to write gruesome plays based on the Grimms' fairy tales. 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?
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An excellent whodunnit, matched by the terrific down-at-heel atmosphere of postwar Brighton
The Times||Griffiths evokes with 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)