MYSTERY

The Vanishing Box

Houghton Harcourt. (Magic Men, Bk. 4). Oct. 2018. 368p. ISBN 9780544750296. $25; ebk. ISBN 9780544750517. M
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As the holiday season approaches, magician Max Mephisto and daughter Ruby are bringing their dazzling magic act to the impressive Brighton Hippodrome. They're happy to be headlining and honing their act for a TV show, but are less thrilled about one of the opening gigs—a tableau show of naked girls. Then a housemate of one of the showgirls is murdered, and soon more people associated with the production turn up dead. The cases fall to DI Edgar Stephens, Max's longtime friend and Ruby's fiancé, and Max becomes embroiled in another mystery. As Sergeants Emma and Bob help investigate, Emma tries to contain her feelings for Edgar, Bob is quite taken with Betty from the tableau, and a love interest of Max's creates more complications for the case. Despite the murders, the show must go on.
VERDICT The fourth entry in the "Magic Men" series (The Blood Card) presents a fascinating look behind the curtain of 1950s showbiz as well as an engaging mystery, especially when DI Stephens and his sergeants are involved. [See Prepub Alert, 4/19/18.]

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