Books > The Stephens and Mephisto Novels

Smoke and Mirrors

December 1951. It’s snowing and two children, Mark and Annie, have gone missing in Brighton. As DI Edgar Stephens leads an increasing desperate search, Max Mephisto is preparing to star in Aladdin on the end of the pier. Then the children’s bodies are found on lonely downland, surrounded by a trail of sweets. For old music hall star, Stan Parks (aka The Great Diablo), the case sparks memories of another murder before the war, when the killer was obsessed with the dark origins of pantomime. Annie used to write plays for the other children, disturbing versions of old tales. Could there be a link between the murders and these stories?

As Christmas approaches, Edgar embarks on the most difficult case of his career. Then another child vanishes. Can Edgar put the pieces of the puzzle together before it’s too late?

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Reviews

  • “Mixes cosiness and sharpness in a way that recalls the best of Agatha Christie and has a feeling for showfolk worthy of Ngaio Marsh.”

    The Sunday Express on Smoke and Mirrors

  • “The lively beginning broadens out into an excellent whodunit, matched by the terrific down-at-heel atmosphere of postwar Brighton.”

    The Sunday Times on Smoke and Mirrors