If you haven't already, read the earlier books in this new series, I urge you to do so.
Published by Quercus,
3 October 2019.
ISBN: 978-1-78648-734-6 (HB)
Brighton May 1964 and Edgar Stephens is attending the funeral of an old friend a magician known as the Great Diablo, aka Stan Parks. Lost in his memories a door banging at the back of the church brings Edgar back to the present and there is Max Mephisto, looking unchanged by the last eleven years.
Much has changed for the friends who served in the war together as part of a group called the Magic Men. Edgar is now a Police Superintendent and has married his former sergeant Emma Holmes. Max is now a Hollywood movie star and is married to the film star Lydia Lamont, and they have two children. And Max’s daughter Ruby, by a former liaison with a snake charmer, has her own TV show – Ruby Magic. Catching up after the funeral the friends’ reminiscences are interrupted when Bob Willis, now DI Willis takes a call that a schoolgirl has gone missing from the boarding school Roedean, situated on the coast just outside Brighton.
The missing girl Rhonda is the daughter of the MP Sir Crispian Miles, the latter having had to wait while Edgar is fetched from the funeral is kicking up a fuss with words such as ‘It’s a disgrace. What do I pay my taxes for?’ It transpires that the delay in the school reporting the absence was occasioned by Rhonda having left a note saying she was going to London. Interviewing her friends reveal that she was besotted by the young film star Bobby Hambro and having heard he was in London had gone to see him.
As Edgar gets the investigation underway two other instance of missing girls come to light, and the investigation ‘opens up in several directions. WPC Connolly is certainly proving her worth, as Edgar says to Emma ‘she’s a bright girl’ and Emma grinds her teeth.
This is the fifth book in the series, and it was a clever move by the author to take the characters on eleven years and for the reader to learn how they had all developed. Not only is it interesting how she has moved their lives on but gives great scope for future books.
Like all good stories, on the surface things look good but underneath maybe not so perfect. Emma and Edgar now have three children, Marianne 8, Sophie 8 and Jonathan just 10 months. She has a husband she loves and lives in a large comfortable house in Brighton but is that enough for a bright woman with a taste for detection. In 1953 when a policewoman married, she had to give up her job in the police force, and Emma misses it. But her longing to be involved may impair her judgement.
Max has been offered another film, but he is at heart a magician used to his audience been amazed by his act, is Hollywood right for him? And Brighton holds memories, that he hasn’t ever let go.
As the investigation takes a dramatic turn, the police have to contend with a threat posed by a battle between the mods and rockers who are causing chaos, and a rumour that another thousand are coming down from London.
A terrific entry in this excellent series. Several tantalising hooks at the end leave me wanting to read the next one now! Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Lizzie Sirett
Elly Griffiths is the author of a series of crime novels set in England’s Norfolk county and featuring forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway. The first in the series, Crossing Places, earned a good deal of praise both in Griffiths’ native country, England, and in the U.S. The Literary Review termed it “a cleverly plotted and extremely interesting first novel, highly recommended. Since then Elly has written eleven further novels featuring forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway. The most recent is The Stone Circle. Recently she has written a second series set in the 1950’s featuring magician Max Mephisto and DI Stephens. There are five books in the new series. Now You See Them is the latest.