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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:37 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 6:48 pm
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Location: UK
Set in 1950s Brighton rather than Griffiths' 'Ruth Galloway' adventures in near-current Norfolk etc, this introduces a new series of off-beat detective tales.

A young woman, a former magician's assistant, turns up dead in station's left-luggage. Well, 2/3 of her. Middle is missing...

Seems she was dosed witless with Belladonna, then so-carefully hacked apart and neatly boxed, like a 'magic' act gone horribly wrong...

Before joining the police, the investigating detective had served as the clever, young 'straight man' to a 'Magic Gang' team set in Inverness, crafting fake tanks, aircraft, warship etc. As Maskelyne did in Egypt, this motley crew are tasked with convincing the Luftwaffe recon planes that the area is sufficiently defended...

Sadly, after a run of success, their efforts to craft a plausible 'Coast Defence Ship' go up in smoke, killing their team's leader, a beautiful, intelligent, sassy former-WAAF...

Now, as other bodies and clues follow, it is apparent that the link is the former 'Magic Gang', several of whom are still working the theatre circuit...
--

There's no CSI stuff, this is old-school coppers rather out of their depth in the face of a cunning monster. Like a cryptic cross-word, the clues are in plain sight. I spotted one twist, but wasn't sure of another until the 'Reveal'.

Why mention 'The Zig-Zag Girl' here ? Well, IMHO, the story is impeccably researched and capably told. Also, the title is both the name of a scary 'magic' act and a military term-- And the tale's monster knows this.

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'P for Pleistocene' A camp-out goes impossibly wrong...


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