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  • Just great

    Love this author and the characters are all encompassing. Interesting it was an actual event entwined into the story

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  • A page turner…

    I enjoyed this book as part of the Brighton Mystery series, the continuation of the character’s lives and their stories

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  • Excellent historical crime fiction, once again.

    Now You See Them is the fifth book in the Stephens and Mephisto Mystery series (now apparently titled The Brighton Mysteries) by British author, Elly Griffiths. It is set over ten years after the events of The Vanishing Box. DI Bob Willis and Superintendent Edgar Stephens are called out of a post-funeral gathering for one of the wartime Magic Men: a teenaged girl is missing from her exclusive boarding school, Roedean. Her father, local MP Sir Crispian Miles demands their immediate action. Rhonda Miles left a note claiming she has gone to London, and her friends are convinced she’s there to see matinee idol Bobby Hambro: they are all manic fans. It happens that the star’s agent is trying to entice Max Mephisto to co-star in a proposed film with Bobby: Edgar enlists Max’s help to gain access to Bobby to request vigilance for Rhonda among his many fans. Edgar’s wife Emma, formerly DS Holmes, is finding marriage and motherhood less than stimulating and jumps at the chance to be more involved when her friend, journalist Sam Collins brings news of two earlier, unreported, disappearances of young women who have left similar notes. The women hatch a scheme to draw out the kidnapper, much to Edgar’s disapproval. Meanwhile DI Bob Willis sends WPC Meg Connolly to London undercover to mingle with the loyal Bobby Hambro fans massed outside his hotel, hoping to gain information about Rhonda’s whereabouts. She returns with something that links her disappearance to the previous two. And then a body is discovered along the undercliff walk at Rotterdean. In this instalment, Griffiths uses four narrators, Max, Edgar, Emma and Meg, to convey different parts of the story as well as to give different perspectives on events. The story plays out over three weeks. The mid-1960’s era ensures the absence of mobile phones, internet, DNA and even many personal vehicles; thus the detective work relies on heavily on legwork, and intelligent deduction. Griffiths gives the reader a tale that set against a background of conflict erupting between mods and rockers, and includes smugglers tunnels, a prison escape, pop-star hysteria, racial discrimination and the emergence of a hitherto unknown group: teenagers. The kidnappings come very close to home for the main protagonists before a dramatic climax reveals who is responsible. In different ways, Emma, Sam and Meg are subject to sexual discrimination, being relegated to menial tasks, denied the right to work, not permitted to drive a police car, denigrated by comments from colleagues, denied promotion and always expected to make the tea. But these women have plans! Griffiths gives the reader characters that are real and flawed; some are immature but eager; others are distracted by their emotions. The plot is clever and original and even the most astute reader is unlikely to guess the perpetrator. The atmosphere of sixties Britain is skilfully evoked with description, dialogue and the attitudes common at the time. Excellent historical crime fiction, once again.

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