It is 1953. The young Elizabeth is about to be crowned queen, rationing is still in place in Britain and DI Edgar Stephens and magician Max Mephisto take on their 3rd case together in ‘The Blood Card’.
When Edgar and Max served together in the war in a group known as the Magic Men, their commanding officer was Colonel Cartwright. Now Cartwright has been found murdered with a playing card left on his chest. The card is the Ace of Hearts – The Blood Card.
The investigation into Cartwright’s death interrupts Edgar’s current case, the drowning death of medium, Madame Zabini. He leaves the Zabini case in the capable hands of his sergeants Emma and Bob while he travels to New York to visit an associate of Cartwright’s Wild Bill Hitchcock. Edgar discovers that America is the land of plenty (no rationing like Britain) but Hitchcock is dead. Then there is an attempt on Edgar’s life!
Meanwhile Emma starts to make progress on the Zabini case until she is attacked.
Eventually the team discover that the cases could be linked to each other as well as to the world of magic and variety. And when word is received that someone wants to disrupt the coronation, Edgar and Max realise that they have a tight deadline to solve their crimes.
Edgar’s relationship with Max’s magician daughter Ruby continues is it’s off and on manner. Is Ruby prepared to get married and face the consequences of marriage for a woman in the 1950s?
This was an enjoyable mystery. The series seems to be getting better as it goes along.
I enjoyed seeing Edgar’s colleagues with a greater role and I particularly liked Emma. The final sentence of the novel was a bit heartbreaking.
I’m looking forward to the next novel in this exciting series – ‘The Vanishing Box‘.
Book published 2016