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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

Overall rating

4.1 out of 5
5 Stars
22 reviews have 5 stars
4 Stars
24 reviews have 4 stars
3 Stars
14 reviews have 3 stars
2 Stars
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1 Star
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All Book Reviews

  • The Zig Zag Girl

    I loved this book in Elly Griffiths new series. In keeping with the theme of mystery, mayhem and magic, there was subterfuge, sleight of hand and misdirection to confuse and delight.

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    2 person found this review helpful

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    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • It's Magic

    Cleverly written book with a lot of local knowledge. I have been thoroughly entertained and I never got the villian so that should be a 5 star review

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    1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

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  • Full of charm and atmosphere

    It wasn't very hard (I thought) to work out the 'who dunnit?', though when thus happens I can never tell whether the writer is deliberately setting up a tension via dramatic irony so that the reader is impatient for the detective to finally work it out, or if I've just read far too many hundreds of crime novels over the last 50 odd years: working it out so soon was probably my 'fault'. All the clues as to the how, as well as who, were there in plain sight, but there was a real surprise in the why that really caught me out. And I loved the way the structure of the book mirrored the sequence of a magic trick. Very clever. Another real pleasure of the book was the convincing feel of the early 1950s, an era when people were just pulling themselves together after the war, and the slightly seedy, down-at-heel I can (just) remember that so many places had at that time, after years of lacking repairs and all the money going to fighting a war, not investing in an uncertain future peace. The second great pleasure was that of the characters and the setting. A theatre setting is always a delight to fans of cosy mysteries for some reason. Maybe it's because we love to the sense of peering behind the scenes rather than at the show. And that love of illusion was doubly gratified here with not one but three magicians in the story's cast and several intriguing descriptions of magical illusions which were just enough to add conviction to the setting without that irritatingly common mistake of some other writers who fall in love with their research and can't help themselves showing off about what they've learned by cramming too much of it in. The touch here was light and added greatly to the overall feel. But the star of the show, actually and metaphorically, was Max Mephisto, the ageing glamour boy magician who emerged as a more fully-rounded character than one might have expected from a minor character, with a raffish but just slightly seedy charm to match the post-war Brighton location, itself almost a minor character in the book. So I was delighted to find the end of the book hinting that this might not be, ladies and gentlemen, the absolutely last and final performance of The Marvellous Mephisto. I certainly hope not. I'm off to start reading the second book in the series straight away.

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    2 person found this review helpful

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