MYSTERY

Smoke and Mirrors: A Magic Men Mystery

Houghton Harcourt. Oct. 2016. 352p. ISBN 9780544527959. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780544527980. M
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OrangeReviewStarBrighton DI Edgar Stephens is investigating the kidnapping and murder of two children during the 1951 Christmas season, their bodies positioned and left in a bizarre scene that brings to mind the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel. His old friend, Max Mephisto, is in town to perform magic at the annual Brighton pantomime, a traditional English Christmas stage show. When Stan Parks, a colleague both men knew during World War II, arrives in Brighton to work in the pantomime, he's reminded of an old murder case that also involved children's fairy tales. Now, the Magic Men have reunited to find a killer before he strikes again.
VERDICT This fascinating sequel to The Zig-Zag Girl further develops the two protagonists, each with their own strengths: Edgar is a puzzle solver and Max is a master magician, who also happens to be heir to a British title. Their admiration for each other lays a strong foundation for their partnership in future cases. [See Prepub Alert, 4/10/16.]
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