Monday, February 6, 2017

THE ZIG ZAG GIRL by Elly Griffiths

When a favorite author starts a new series, I always wonder how I will respond.

I like Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway series. Will I like her Magic Men Mysteries as much?

Not quite as much, but still, I enjoyed Elly Griffiths’ The Zig Zag Girl.

In 1950, two Army friends Brighton, England Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens and magician Max Mephisto set out to solve a series of murders based on magic tricks.

More than that, the murders seem to be tied into their special unit in WWII. The Magic Men tried to deceive the Germans, make them think the allies were more prepared to fend off an invasion than they were. The Magic Men were into deception and illusion.

So when DI Stephens finds a woman murdered and cut into three parts, a replication of the famous Zig Zag Girl magic trick, he enlists his friend Max Mephisto to help him solve the murders.

The murders are personal. One part of the murdered woman ends up being shipped to Stephens in a suitcase sent to the police station. The murdered woman has performed variations of the Zig Zag Girl trick as one of Max’s assistants.

Something terrible is happening. It ties back to their WWII unit. As things progress, someone murders two more people in similarly gruesome ways.

Stephens and Max delve into the old group. They wonder what is happening.

What they find is that the motive for the murders goes back to the nature of The Magic Men Group itself. 

The Zig Zag Girl was more plot heavy and less character heavy that the Ruth Galloway books. That is both its strength and its weakness.

I enjoy Ruth’s personal involvements and the way her stories always delve into the characters’ histories. The Zig Zag Girl does some of that, but it is more based on plot than people.

So, now I have another good series to follow, a series by a favorite author. Maybe instead of carping, I should count my blessings.
I ran across this book as a Kindle offering from our local library.


J F Norris said...

I've read the second one in this series SMOKE AND MIRROS because it's about a type of theater that I know little about -- Christmas time pantomimes. I learned a lot about that style of theater. The story, however, was only OK which is my usual reaction to contemporary crime fiction. It's been over five years since I've read anything recently published that I find innovative or even remotely clever. The stage magic element is very limited. Rather than actually using stage magic and tricks in the story the characters just talk about illusion and deception as metaphors. I didn't like the usual anachronistic 21st century mindset for a story set over fifty years ago. Probably won't be reading this first one which does sound like it has more of the magic and stage illusion business.

Joe Barone said...

The two books probably are similar. I appreciate your comments and think people will find them helpful.