This interesting stand alone thriller sees a departure for the author Elly Griffiths, who I am more used to reading as the author of the successful Ruth Galloway crime series which I love. So, with some trepidation I embarked on this quite different crime novel, which has the distinct feel of history about it, as it is set in Brighton in 1950, when memories of WW2 are still very real in the mind. When the body of a girl is found cut into three pieces, D I Edgar Stephens remembers a magic trick he once knew. The trick was called The Zig Zag Girl and its inventor was an ex army friend of the D I where the shadowy group called the Magic Men used their magical skills to confuse and bamboozle the enemy during the darker moments of the Second World War.
It is an accomplished crime novel with an interesting and complex plot which is made easy to read by the author’s great skill at keeping time and place in context. There is a definite feel of history to it in the seedier aspects of life in Brighton and the police procedural investigation is written with an authentic feel to it. Overall, I enjoyed most of the story although if I’m really honest, I feel that it lacked a certain oomph in places which, whilst not necessarily a criticism, did sort of leave me feeling like I wanted something more from the characters.
I thought that there was a certain cinematographic quality to the narrative which I couldn’t help but compare to the TV programme Foyles War and I can easily see this story being picked up as a television post war drama. It’s certainly good enough to capture an audience.
My thanks to Quercus Books and NetGalley for my copy of this book.