Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Last Illusion-Rhys Bowen

The Last Illusion
Rhys Bowen
Minotaur, Mar 2 2010, $24.99
ISBN 9780312385408

In 1903 in New York City Molly Murphy and her fiancé police captain Daniel Sullivan attend a magic show at the Miner’s Theatre on the Bowery headlined by the great Harry Houdini. However, their night out on the town turns ugly when the stunt of sawing-a-lady-in-half by magician Signor Scarpelli goes awry even before Houdini was to perform.

Someone obviously tampered with Scarpelli’s equipment before the performance. Even further shocking is the corpse of the magician’s assistant disappears. Worried that the intended target was her spouse, Houdini’s wife Bess hires Molly to investigate while Daniel directs his fiancée to stay out of the way of the official inquiry. When Houdini’s act almost also ends fatalyl, Molly agrees with Bess that her husband is the prey for a maniacal predator.

Proving once again she is not a coddled women In a Gilded Cage, Molly investigates while Daniel, who also is on the case, pleading with her to stay out of it as it is dangerous. Their inquiries make for a superb historical whodunit that brings to life Manhattan at the turn of the previous century while also cleverly refreshed by having Houdini appear to be the victim.

Harriet Klausner