The Fifth Gripping Brighton Based Mystery From The Bestselling Author Of The Dr Ruth Galloway Series A Must Read For Fans Of Agatha Christie, Cosy Crime And TV Series Such As Grantchester And Midsomer Murders One After Another, Young Women Go Missing In Brighton, But Who S To Say They Didn T Leave Of Their Own Free Choice Ten Years Have Passed Since The Events Described In The Vanishing Box Edgar Stephens Is Now A Superintendent And Married To Former DS Emma Holmes Edgar S Wartime Partner In Arms, Magician Max Mephisto, Is A Movie Star In Hollywood, While His Daughter Ruby Has Her Own TV Show, Ruby MagicThe Funeral Of Stan Parks, Aka Diablo, Actor And Wartime Comrade To Edgar And Max, Throws The Gang Back Together The Reunion Sparks All Sorts Of Feelings Bob Willis, Now A DI, Is Dealing With The Disappearance Of Local Schoolgirl Rhonda Miles Emma, Frustrated By Living The Life Of A Housewife And Mother, Keeps Thinking How Much Better She Would Run The Case She Is Helped By Sam Collins, A Woman Reporter Also Hampered By Sexism At Work Sam Notices A Pattern With Other Missing Girls Edgar Listens To The Theory But Doesn T Give It Much Credence He Is Preoccupied With The Threatened Invasion Of Brighton By Mods And Rockers On The May Bank HolidayThe Case Takes A Sinister Turn When One Of The Missing Girls Is Found Dead Then Ruby Fails To Turn Up For A Rendezvous And It Becomes Clear That She Too Has Disappeared Emma Takes Risks To Track Down The Killer Herself While Edgar Is Working Flat Out Dealing With Violent Clashes Between Rival Gangs On Brighton S Seafront With Tension And Anger Hitting Him On All Sides, Edgar Must Keep The Coolest Of Heads To Track Down The Killer My 5 review of Now you see Them by Elly Griffiths.Another story set in Brighton with Max and Edgar back in harness working to resolve the mystery of girls going missing, along with a host of other supporting characters This author writes and develops characters better than most Though set in Brighton not too cosy touching on racism, sexism, homophobia along with misogyny the issues of the day in the 1960,s. It has taken this latest addition to Elly Griffiths s historical Stephens and Mephisto series set in Brighton for me to become aware of just how much I love this series It picks up than a decade later from events in The Vanishing Box, in the interim fundamental shifts have taken place in the lives of the major characters It is 1964, Max is now a bona fide movie star living in LA, married to the famous actress, Lydia Lamont, and has two young children, Rocco and Elena He is now Lord Massingham after the death of his father, although he makes no use of the title to his American wife s dismay His daughter, the 34 year old Ruby is now the fashionable darling of the nation with her popular TV show, Ruby Magic Edgar is now Superintendent, whilst Bob has been promoted to DI, and there is a new WPC, the 19 year old Meg Connolly, on the police team Emma Holmes left the police force on marrying Edgar, and is mother to 3 children, Marianne, Sophie, and 10 month old Jonathan The paths of this close knit group connect once again at the funeral of Stan Parks, The Great Diablo, along with Max and Edgar, was part of The Magic Men, wartime comrades running vital missions in WW2 Being a housewife and mother is not enough for Emma, she sorely misses her previous life as a DS, her dissatisfaction is something Edgar is aware of, correctly intuiting she hankers a return to her previous role in the police, which is just not a realistic possibility Max too is feeling his own strain of unhappiness, he hankers for his old variety music hall shows, the itinerant lifestyle as a magician, but that has all but disappeared from British cultural life Now it all about pop stars, like The Beatles, and film stars, attracting huge young crowds of screaming fans There are violent running battles on the Brighton seafront between the Mods and the Rockers, with the police caught in the middle Max is ruminating over the loss of the murdered Florence, who he believes he loved, and wondering about the nature of his marriage to Lydia, but his children keep him tethered to his current life A 16 year old Rhonda Miles, a Roedean school girl, has gone missing, a fanatical follower of the American film star, Bobby Hambro 2 other women have previously gone missing, with matters coming to a head when the dead body of a woman is discovered on the beach.Danger comes much too close to Max, as Ruby disappears and Emma just cannot stop herself getting involved, resentful, aware that she is much the better detective than both Edgar and Bob She is joined by her only friends, Sam Collins, local reporter and medium, Astarte Zabini It is the women, along with WPC Meg, that make the key breaks on the case The sixties is an era where rampant sexism, racism and anti gay sentiment make life considerably challenging Emma has to forge a path in another direction with a police force unwilling to accommodate married women Griffiths has a real gift in creating complex characters that you cannot help but care about, getting caught up in their lives and relationships, which hold centre stage as much as the core murder mystery in the novels A brilliant historical series, capturing the class distinctions and spirit of Britain and Brighton in the 1960s in this addition, dripping with the social and cultural norms and attitudes of the time, amidst a background of the popular culture Looking forward with great anticipation to the next in the series Many thanks to Quercus for an ARC. Where the first four books in this series were set in 1950s Brighton, this fifth episode has leapt ahead 10 years to the 1960s Mini skirt wearing teenage girls are swooning over the Beatles and Mods and Rockers are ganging up on each other The Magic Men who were part of a special squad in WWII have all gone their separate ways Max Mephisto is no longer a variety show magician but a movie star, married to a Hollywood actress in LA and father of two young children and Edgar Stephens is now a police Superintendent in Brighton, married to former Detective Emma Holmes with three children Max is back in Brighton briefly for the funeral of another member of their wartime squad, the Great Diablo, aka Stan Parks, and to look into a possible role in a new movie starring a teenage heart throb Also he plans to catch up with his adult daughter Ruby, also a magician and now star of her own TV series This is a case of missing girls, initially three girls from different walks of life who are first thought to have run away It s of a cosy mystery than a thriller, despite the involvement of the Brighton police with Max, Emma and a journalist all involved in looking for the girls The plot is somewhat slow to develop with the police making little headway until a sudden breakthrough at the end The 1960s setting of this novel in the popular seaside town of Brighton is very atmospheric, particularly with regard to the social and cultural changes underway, such as the rise of pop stars and movie stars, the changing fashions worn by the Mods and the Rockers and generally adopted by teenagers The changing role of women is also highlighted with ex DS Emma Holmes unfulfilled as a full time wife and mother and yearning for the excitement of her old life This series will appeal to those who enjoy a murder mystery with an authentic historical setting With many thanks to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for a digital ARC to read. It is always an event when a new Elly Griffiths book is due out The chance to receive an advanced reader s copy ARC should not be passed up.This is now the 5th in this series that began with her main characters caught up in making a go of things after World War II Life in Post War England was a struggle and the charm of these books were the end of the pier shows, variety and where magicians were often topping the bill in theatres Two wartime colleagues were reunited in what became initially known as the Stephens and Mephisto mysteries centred on Brighton, where Edgar Stephens became a detective inspector and Max Mephisto star and travelling magician assisted, whenever he was in town in solving the crimes presented.They have now been rebranded the Brighton Mysteries but Max remains a central character and Edgar, now Superintendent makes this still really a police procedural but with a magic twist.This compelling addition to this engaging series is set some 11 years after the last one Consequently, much has changed in the intervening years for these characters The author manages this with the expertise of the successful novelist she is and integrates the backstory without deviation, hesitation or reputation It can be read as a stand alone and would be a get in to anyone new to the series or Ely s diverse work.Perhaps challenging to the author was the jump into the 60 s and presenting details some of her reader s may have memories of and could have lived through themselves Here Brighton comes into its own While not like a Graham Greene novel but real and black This series has always had an edgy feel to it even a decade earlier No cosy mysteries here The murders have always been macabre and dark, reflecting the stage magic and mystery of a bygone theatrical day.This is a story of a missing girl where the abduction does not seem initially for ransom As the investigation expands we see this might not be the first young woman taken but the facts surrounding each disappearance seem confused as each missing person left a note.I loved the grasp of the teenage world the crush young girls had for film stars and growing music scene like The Beatles I also appreciated the social commentary that is bound up in the story regarding other social changes Youth culture, gangs, women s roles, radio to TV and issue based awareness around sexuality, environment and class.Elly weaves this all into her story which brings colour and depth In addition she brings a rich love of literature and historical nods to her writing that adds layers and gives substance to this novel.At times you think you re reading a separate soap, it s all about Emma, as the writing exposes the struggle a woman has being married, raising the kids and losing her identity without a role outside the home But Elly repeats this in Max s character too regarding his marriage and his memories of a precious love returning to Brighton after 11 years.It also works on another level that of the relationships of fathers with their daughters Here the author shows great insights and a variety of interactions between the various examples in the book Not deep but a social commentary fully integrated into the story All the striking compared to the love or endowment given to sons.This is what made Jane Austin such a great writer and why Elly Griffiths is a quality author as demonstrated here.It is a novel set in 1960s England but it is a story very much for today.
Elly Griffiths Ruth Galloway novels take for their inspiration Elly s husband, who gave up a city job to train as an archaeologist, and her aunt who lives on the Norfolk coast and who filled her niece s head with the myths and legends of that area Elly has two children and lives near Brighton Though not her first novel, The Crossing Places is her first crime novel.
- 384 pages
- Now You See Them
- Elly Griffiths
- 18 August 2019 Elly Griffiths