EXCERPT: May 1964
At first, Edgar thought he wasn’t coming. They were all there in church: Edgar and Emma, Bob and Betty, Queenie in the front pew, sobbing into a lace-edged handkerchief. Even Mrs M was there, her hair white now but as striking as ever in a black cape with a fur collar. Ruby had caused a stir when she entered the church, followed, as ever, by Joe. There were even a few photographers waiting outside, just for the chance to snap the star of ‘Ruby Magic’, the nation’s favourite TV show. Ruby swept up the front to sit with Queenie, who welcomed her with a hug.
‘Isn’t she lovely?’ said someone. Edgar looked at Emma but her face was expressionless.
And then, as the wheezy music started up, a door banged at the back of the church and Edgar knew. The photographers must have known too because there was a shout outside, something like ‘That’s him.’ Edgar couldn’t resist looking round and there he was, in the blackest suit with the thinnest tie, taking off his hat, unchanged by the last eleven years. Max.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: A wild mystery with DI Edgar Stephens and the magician Max Mephisto, as they help Edgar’s new wife investigate the disappearance of one of their own in the swinging 1960s.
MY THOUGHTS: Set in 1964 against the backdrop of the infamous bank holiday mods and rockers fight on Brighton beach, we catch up with DI Stephens and Max Mephisto eleven years after we last met with them in The Vanishing Box.
This was an interesting period in time. A time of Beatlemania, of protest marches against the Vietnam war, the advent of the contraceptive pill (available only to married women), and the emergence of female activists demanding more rights for women, whose role in society began to change as women realised they could have motherhood and a career too.
Policing was a completely different ballgame, with trunchons instead of tasers, no kevlar vests or body cameras, very little in the way of forensics, and communication via the unreliable ‘walkie talkie’.
Elly Griffiths has cleverly interwoven these social changes into the fabric of Now You See Them, a tale of mystery and intrigue that centres around the disappearance of 4 very different girls and women. Edgar not only has to cope with the mounting pressure to find these women, but also with the growing discontent of his wife Emma, who is missing her life as a detective on the force (married women could not work in the police force), and the effects of her ‘meddling’ in his case.
Griffiths has gathered together an interesting cast of characters with real depth and melds them with the changing social and cultural climate to produce an intriguing mystery. Although very different to her Ruth Galloway series, the Stephens and Mephisto series is every bit as good.
Highly recommended. But it is probably wise to read the earlier books in the series, set in the 1950s, for the characters back stories.
THE AUTHOR: 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.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Hodder Mifflin Harcourt via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Now You See Them by Elly Griffiths for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com
This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3010324083