The Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths
Griffiths, best known for her Ruth Galloway series about a forensic archaeologist, presents us with the first book in a new series with The Zig Zag Girl. It’s 1950 in Brighton and Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens is called to the scene of a gruesome murder. At once Stephens is certain that this isn’t just some twisted individual who has done this, but someone who’s familiar with the magic tricks of Max Mephisto with whom Stephens served with in the war. They were a part of the Magic Men, a camouflage unit designed to trick the enemy. When another murder is committed, echoing another magic trick, Max and Edgar are sure that the answer lies somewhere in their past during their Magic Men days and when Stephens receives a letter outlining the next trick, he’s certain that the Magic Men themselves are in danger.
Missing from this novel is the humour and warmth that is so present in Galloway’s other series. Edgar and Max are relative loners and when family and other relationships are brought into the picture, it feels awkward. Perhaps Galloway’s intention is to completely distance herself from her first series and I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. Let’s see what the next book in this series brings to the reader.