Monday, January 29, 2018

The Linking Rings (An Eli Marks Mystery Book 4)

Author:  John Gaspard
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover; Trade Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN E:  9781635112870; 9781635112849
Henery Press
276 Pages
January 16, 2018


Eli's trip to London with his uncle Harry quickly turns homicidal when the older magician finds himself accused of murder.  A second slaying does little to take the spotlight off Harry.  Instead it's clear someone is knocking off Harry's elderly peers in bizarrely effective ways.  But who?

The odd gets odder when the prime suspect appears to be a bitter performer with a grudge...who committed suicide over thirty years before.  While Eli struggles to prove his uncle's innocence - and keep them both alive - he finds himself embroiled in a battle of his own: a favorite magic routine of his has been ripped off by another hugely popular magician.

What began as a whirlwind vacation to London with girlfriend Megan turns into a fatal and larcenous trip into the dark heart of magic within the city's oldest magic society, The Magic Circle.


"What the eyes see and the ears hear, the mind believes" - Harry Houdini

Eli Marks is a magician who has accompanied his uncle Harry, also a magician, to London for a special show at the Magic Circle, the most illustrious magic club anywhere.  It is also the first time the Magnificent Magi, a group of select magicians, have reunited in many years.  While they don't at first have a lot of time for reminiscing, Harry and Oskar, one of the other magicians, are going to perform an act together, and are starting rehearsal.  But when something goes terribly wrong and Oskar is killed, Harry is put front and center as the most likely suspect.

But the rest of the magi don't believe it for a minute.  They don't know who killed him, but they know it wasn't Harry.  Then Laurence Baxter, the most famous of them, invites everyone to stay at his home out in Hampstead Heath.  So Harry, Eli and Eli's girlfriend Megan temporarily move to the estate, along with the rest of them.  The only one not staying is a retired police detective named McHugh that Harry has called upon to help solve whatever is going on.

But within a day or two of arriving, another of the magi is found dead - poisoned - at the estate, and now they are all taking things seriously.  Someone is obviously on the loose killing people, and it's likely that the murderer is among those at the estate.  But who?  None of them truly believe another of murder, but there doesn't seem to be any other explanation.

To top it off, an old school friend of Eli's, Jake North, is also in London starring in a play.  While Eli would normally be happy to see him, he discovers that Jake has done something unthinkable, and it may change - or end - their friendship permanently.

Things may get worse before they get better, and Eli realizes that he has to figure out what exactly is going on if he's to see that Harry gets home safe; but he still has a few tricks up his sleeve that will certainly come in handy if they're going to escape from the mess they've been thrown into...

I do love magicians.  I do love mysteries.  So together they make for a perfect story, and this is very good indeed.  Our friend Eli, based in Minneapolis, has traveled to London with Harry and Eli's fianceé Megan for a short vacation and to enjoy the goings-on.  He doesn't expect to find that Megan has booked them into a nightmare of a hotel, nor that his friend Jake is being underhanded, nor that Harry will be a murder suspect.  But there you are - and Eli is right in the middle of it.

It's a fast-moving story with a lot going on, and slightly reminiscent of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.  (But don't be alarmed; it's not a rip-off at all).  It's put together well, and a ton of fun to read.  I especially found McHugh interesting, and it would be wonderful if he showed up in a future book or two.

When all is said and done, and the murderer is revealed, it's quite a surprise.  It's like magic - you think you see one thing, but it may be something else entirely - or not.  This is a delightful series that has plenty going for it - mystery, intrigue, suspense, wonderful characters - and you just might find a little bit of magic yourself in reading it.  Highly recommended.


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