As If By Magic
Soho, Aug 2009, $25.00
In the 1920s in London, South African expatriate George Lassiter breaks into a house he believes is empty. However, instead he hears voices in what sounds like the murder of a woman. Not sure what to do, he goes to leave quietly only the police arrest him accusing him of attempted burglary.
He tells the cops what he believes happened inside the house, but they find no evidence of a homicide. Private investigator Jack Haldean learns of his WWI flying mate’s problems and goes to get him out of jail. George explains to Jack what he heard, why he was in the house and who owns it. Jack believes George that a murder probably occurred and that he was cheated by an impostor out of his inheritance. Jack investigates and learns the owners of the house are relatives of George who probably abetted the con artist who stole his bequest. Jack begins to piece together something more horrifying as an apparent serial killer is the loose while London remains ignorant.
The third Jack Haldean 1920s whodunit (see A FATE WORST THAN DEATH and MAD ABOUT THE BOY) is a terrific historical mystery that brings to life London through the eyes of an emigre author just after WWI. The story line is fast-paced from the moment George breaks into a house he believes he owns. Fans will relish Jack’s inquiry as he finds much more than he expected.