Sleuthing stage magician Joseph Spector (Death and the Conjuror) returns to investigate a baffling series of impossible crimes.
“Even readers who live to match wits with canny authors and detectives are likely to be outwitted by this one.”—Kirkus
“Can you solve the Ferris wheel murder case?”
When a sensational killing rocks 1938 London, local newspaper ads offer a hefty sum to the person who can say whodunnit. A man has been shot dead at the top of a Ferris wheel, and his wife — the only other person in their carriage — insists on her innocence. But who else could have fired the deadly bullet and escaped unseen? The sheer implausibility of the claim is enough to whip the press into a frenzy and, for young and idealistic Edmund Ibbs, the lawyer representing the accused, that frenzy may be his only hope at discovering the truth of the mysterious murder.
As he digs into the case, Ibbs unwittingly enters a shadowy web of conspiracy and murder, soon finding himself implicated in not one but two other seemingly impossible crimes. First, a corpse appears out of thin air during a performance by a famed illusionist, then a second victim is mortally wounded in a locked dressing room backstage.
Edmund is in exactly the wrong place at the wrong time, attracting the suspicion of Scotland Yard inspector George Flint. His only hope at freedom comes in the form of retired stage magician Joseph Spector, a man steeped in the art of misdirection, who happens to be in the audience for the deadly show. Spector’s mastery of illusion is capable of piercing the veil of deceit, but will his deductive powers be strong enough to explain this utterly confounding series of crimes?
Featuring a puzzling plot with a brilliant and fairly clued solution, The Murder Wheel is a delightful homage to the Golden Age mystery sure to please fans of classic crime fiction; Tom Mead’s atmospheric writing and memorable, complex characters prove him to be one of the best new talents in the historical mystery of today.
Mead's brilliant second Joseph Spector novel (following 2022's Death and the Conjurer), again set in 1930s London, sees the retired magician saddled with three seemingly impossible murders to solve. First up is a bizarre killing committed on a Ferris wheel: bank manager Dominic Dean was fatally shot while he and his wife, Carla, were the only occupants of a compartment at the very top of the ride's arc. That fact, coupled with Carla's fingerprints on the revolver used to shoot Dominic, make her the obvious suspect, despite the absence of any apparent motive. The puzzle only becomes more intricate after her defense attorney, Edmund Ibbs, seeks exculpatory evidence, only to stumble into the middle of two other murders—one onstage at a magic show and one backstage—where he becomes the primary suspect. Spector gets involved and utilizes his unique illusionist knowledge to solve all three killings. Mead plays scrupulously fair with his readers, going so far as to include footnotes that identify which prior pages displayed clues in plain sight. Lovers of John Dickson Carr's puzzle mysteries will hope Mead has many more Spector tales up his sleeve.
Simply clever…read in one sitting.
Buy this book!!