The Last Illusion
By Rhys Bowen
(Minotaur Books, Hardcover, 9780312385408, 288pp.)
Publication Date: March 2, 2010
Irish immigrant and PI Molly Murphy is thrilled to have a ticket to the theater to see a trio of illusionists that are all the rage. Indeed, headlining is Harry Houdini, the most sensational of them all; he has just returned from entertaining European kings and queens for a brief run on Broadway.
But before Houdini can even take the stage, the opening act goes horribly wrong and to the crowd’s shock the illusionist saws into his assistant. In the aftermath, the stunned performer accuses Houdini of tampering with the equipment he keeps under lock and key. And he’s not the only one critical of “The King of Handcuffs.” Risking his life every night, Houdini has raised the stakes to such a perilous level that he’s putting lesser acts out of business.
With everyone on edge, Houdini’s wife hires Molly to be part investigator/part bodyguard, but how can she protect a man who literally risks his life every night? And how is she going to uncover whether these masters of illusion are simply up to their tricks or if there truly is something much more treacherous going on.
With sparkling wit, charming characters, and historic detail, multiple award winner Rhys Bowen brings early-twentieth-century New York City and the fantastic performers of the time vividly to life in The Last Illusion.
Rhys Bowen is the author of the award-winning Molly Murphy and Constable Evans mysteries. Her novels have garnered an impressive array of awards and nominations, including the Anthony award for her novel For the Love of Mike and the Agatha Award for Murphy’s Law. Her books have also won the Bruce Alexander Historical Award and the Herodotus Award, and have been shortlisted for the Edgar, the Agatha, the Macavity, the Barry, and the Mary Higgins Clark Award. She has also written Her Royal Spyness, a series about a minor royal in 1930s England, and she is the author of several short stories, including the Anthony Award–winning “Doppelganger.” Her story “Voodoo” was chosen to be part of the anthology of the best of 50 years of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Ms. Bowen was born in Bath, England, and worked as an announcer and studio manager for the BBC in London, before moving to Australia and then California. It was here she started writing children’s and young adult novels, and then moved on to mysteries with the Constable Evans novels. When not writing she loves to travel, sing, hike, play her Celtic harp, and entertain her grandchildren. She lives in San Rafael, California.
Praise for Rhys Bowen
“This installment outshines the others…. Don’t miss this great period puzzler reminiscent of Dame Agatha’s mysteries and Gillian Linscott’s Nell Bray series.”
---Booklist on In a Gilded Cage
“Delightful … As ever, Bowen does a splendid job of capturing the flavor of early twentieth-century New York.”
---Publishers Weekly on In a Gilded Cage
“Molly is an indomitable creature.… The book bounces along in the hands of Ms. Bowen and her Molly, and there is no doubt that she will be back causing trouble.”
---Washington Times on In Dublin’s Fair City
“Readers will surely testify that Murphy has become one of their favorite characters.… This book is a keeper.”
---Tampa Tribune on In Dublin’s Fair City
“Its enjoyable charm and wit will appeal to a cross-section of mystery fans.”
---Baltimore Sun on Oh Danny Boy