The Zig Zag Girl
by Elly Griffiths
Book #1 in the Stephens and Mephisto Mystery series (2014)
Brighton, 1950. A girl is found cut in three, and Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens is convinced the killer is mimicking a famous magic trick – the Zig Zag Girl. The inventor of the trick, Max Mephisto, served with Edgar in a special ops troop called the Magic Men that used stage illusions to confound the enemy. Max still performs, touring with ventriloquists, sword-swallowers, and dancing girls.
When Edgar asks for his help with the case, Max tells him to identify the victim quickly; it takes a special sidekick to do the Zig Zag Girl – words that haunt Max when he learns the dead girl is Ethel, one of his best assistants to date.
Another death, another magic trick, and still no killer. But when Edgar receives a letter warning of another “trick” on the way – the Wolf Trap – he knows the Magic Men are in the killer’s sights.