Now You See Them: Book summary and reviews of Now You See Them by Elly Griffiths

Now You See Them

Magic Men Mysteries #5

by Elly Griffiths

Now You See Them by Elly Griffiths X
Now You See Them by Elly Griffiths
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  • Published Dec 2019
    352 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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Book Summary

The fifth book in the Magic Men series, Now You See Them is a wild mystery with detective Edgar Stephens and the magician Max Mephisto, as they investigate a string of presumed kidnappings in the swinging 1960s.

The new decade is going well for Edgar Stephens and his good friend the magician Max Mephisto. Edgar is happily married, with children, and promoted to Superintendent. Max has found fame and stardom in America, though is now back in England for a funeral, and a prospective movie job. Edgar's new wife, though—former detective Emma—is restless and frustrated at home, knowing she was the best detective on the team.

But when an investigation into a string of disappearing girls begins, Emma sees her chance to get back in the action. She begins her own hunt, determined to prove, once and for all that she's better than the boys. Though she's not the only one working toward that goal—there's a new woman on the force, and she's determined to make detective. When two more girls go missing, both with ties to the group, the stakes climb ever higher, and Max finds himself drawn into his own search.
 
Who will find the girls first? And will they get there in time?

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"As always, Griffiths creates an authentic sense of time and place…readers will eagerly await more to come." - Booklist (starred review)

"Griffiths mixes well-defined characters with a clever plot. Her examination of the place of women in 1960s British society should appeal to readers of procedurals and historical fiction fans." - Publishers Weekly

"A character-driven tale of troubled relationships in a rapidly changing 1960s England that's wrapped in an excellent mystery." - Kirkus Reviews

This information about Now You See Them was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

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Cloggie Downunder

Excellent historical crime fiction, once again.
Now You See Them is the fifth book in the Stephens and Mephisto Mystery series (now apparently titled The Brighton Mysteries) by British author, Elly Griffiths. It is set over ten years after the events of The Vanishing Box. DI Bob Willis and Superintendent Edgar Stephens are called out of a post-funeral gathering for one of the wartime Magic Men: a teenaged girl is missing from her exclusive boarding school, Roedean. Her father, local MP Sir Crispian Miles demands their immediate action.

Rhonda Miles left a note claiming she has gone to London, and her friends are convinced she’s there to see matinee idol Bobby Hambro: they are all manic fans. It happens that the star’s agent is trying to entice Max Mephisto to co-star in a proposed film with Bobby: Edgar enlists Max’s help to gain access to Bobby to request vigilance for Rhonda among his many fans.

Edgar’s wife Emma, formerly DS Holmes, is finding marriage and motherhood less than stimulating and jumps at the chance to be more involved when her friend, journalist Sam Collins brings news of two earlier, unreported, disappearances of young women who have left similar notes. The women hatch a scheme to draw out the kidnapper, much to Edgar’s disapproval.

Meanwhile DI Bob Willis sends WPC Meg Connolly to London undercover to mingle with the loyal Bobby Hambro fans massed outside his hotel, hoping to gain information about Rhonda’s whereabouts. She returns with something that links her disappearance to the previous two. And then a body is discovered along the undercliff walk at Rotterdean.

In this instalment, Griffiths uses four narrators, Max, Edgar, Emma and Meg, to convey different parts of the story as well as to give different perspectives on events. The story plays out over three weeks. The mid-1960’s era ensures the absence of mobile phones, internet, DNA and even many personal vehicles; thus the detective work relies on heavily on legwork, and intelligent deduction.

Griffiths gives the reader a tale that set against a background of conflict erupting between mods and rockers, and includes smugglers tunnels, a prison escape, pop-star hysteria, racial discrimination and the emergence of a hitherto unknown group: teenagers. The kidnappings come very close to home for the main protagonists before a dramatic climax reveals who is responsible.

In different ways, Emma, Sam and Meg are subject to sexual discrimination, being relegated to menial tasks, denied the right to work, not permitted to drive a police car, denigrated by comments from colleagues, denied promotion and always expected to make the tea. But these women have plans!

Griffiths gives the reader characters that are real and flawed; some are immature but eager; others are distracted by their emotions. The plot is clever and original and even the most astute reader is unlikely to guess the perpetrator. The atmosphere of sixties Britain is skilfully evoked with description, dialogue and the attitudes common at the time. Excellent historical crime fiction, once again.

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Author Information

Elly Griffiths Author Biography

Elly Griffiths is the author of the Ruth Galloway and Brighton mystery series, as well as the standalone novels The Stranger Diaries, winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel, and The Postscript Murders. She is the recipient of the CWA Dagger in the Library Award and the Mary Higgins Clark Award. She lives in Brighton, England.

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