Brighton, 1950, variety shows are on the way out, magic shows not as popular as they had been, television soon to make its appearance. After the war Edgar wanted to make a difference in people's lives so though he was expected to return to Oxford, he decided instead to become a policeman. When a body is delivered to the station in pieces, it becomes Inspector Edgar's case, a case that will bring him to Max Memphisto a famous magician and a man that Edgar served with in a secret unit called the Magic Men.
The atmosphere of this novel is authentic and wonderful. So much about magic shows and the theater, even knowing that a magicians greatest friend is misdirection did not help me solve this case. I did have a few ideas but I guess I am just not clever enough. The characters are colorful, Max and Diablo alternately amusing or melancholy. Secrets from past, clues to follow left by the killer, murders done in ways mimicking magic acts, all leaving a trail, but remember red herrings and misdirection. The historical details are an additional bonus, all helping to immerse the reader in both this case and the time period.
A brilliant start to what I hope is a new series, by Galloway.