May 1953. As the country prepares for the coronation of Elizabeth II, the optimistic mood is spoiled for DI Edgar Stephens and his wartime comrade, magician Max Mephisto, when they are informed by a high-ranking general that their old commander, Colonel Cartwright, has been murdered. This general found some puzzling items in Cartwight's pockets, not least a playbill featuring Tony 'The Mind' Mulholland (deceased), and a playing card, the ace of hearts: the blood card.Edgar and Max have enough on their hands without this though: Edgar is investigating the death of Doreen Barton (aka Madame Zabini), a celebrated Brighton fortune teller, while Max is rehearsing for his appearance in a variety show to be broadcast on the night of the coronation - on television, no less. But the general's will prevails.Edgar's investigation leads him from Brighton to America, land of fast cars and seemingly unlimited food, on the trail of a small-town mesmerist who may provide the key - but someone else has got to him first, and now he won't be mesmerising anyone ever again. It's Sergeant Emma Holmes who finds the clue, buried in the files of the Zabini case, that leads them to an anarchist group intent on providing an explosive finale to Coronation Day.Now it's up to Edgar, Max and Emma to foil the plot, and find out who it is who's been dealing the cards . . .
Griffiths pulls a truly startling rabbit out of the hat, demonstrating that this is more than the cosy mystery it initially appears Sunday Times
Elly Griffiths was born in London and worked in publishing for many years. Her bestselling series of Ruth Galloway novels, featuring a forensic archaeologist, are set in Norfolk, while her new series is based in 1950s Brighton. She has twice been shortlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library, and three times for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year for books in the Ruth Galloway series. Elly lives near Brighton with her husband, an archaeologist, and their two children.