The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths

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Brighton, 1950. Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens is investigating the murder of a young woman, who was cut in three. It is reminiscent of a magic trick called the Zig Zag Girl invented by Max Mephisto. Both Edgar and Max had worked together during the war as part of a unit called the Magic Men and when Max finds out that he knows the girl, he decides to help investigate the murder. Then there is another murder, based on another trick and it looks as if their time in the Magic Men unit may play a part.

Although a fan of Elly Griffiths books, especially the Ruth Galloway Investigation series, I was initially reluctant to read a book about magic tricks, but once started, Griffiths’ plotting, descriptions and great characters, had me hooked. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader fully engaged and the denouement was a surprise to me. I was fascinated by the way she brought in magic tricks and murder and the setting of Brighton was interesting, with her author’s note about her connection to her grandfather’s role in vaudeville enhancing the story. The story of the Magic Men unit and their effects to trick the enemy with illusions also added to the uniqueness of Griffiths’ story background.

While this edition was first published in 2015, it is still in print because any mystery by Elly Griffiths is worth reading!

Themes: Mystery, Brighton, Magic tricks.

Pat Pledger