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The Houdini Girl - Martyn Bedford

Penguin, 2000, Paperback ..
Condition: Near Fine.

Fletcher Brandon, known onstage as Peter Prestige the Prodigious Prestidigitator (and offstage simply as Red), has never met anyone as alive as Rosa Kelly. Yet a year after their mutual seduction one night in an Oxford pub, this beautiful, foul-mouthed, flinty Irishwoman is dead--either a suicide or a murder victim. The magician, summoned from a show in the north of England, finds himself hoping that she has perpetrated an elaborate ruse: "I would've given anything for the coroner's officer to whisk away the sheet with a theatrical flourish to reveal a bare table and for Rosa, in a sequined costume, to emerge, stage left, with beaming radiance." Though Red had seen Rosa on the morning of her death, as long-haired and flamboyant as ever, the body's head is shaved and makeup-free. What's more, further investigation reveals that she had taken her passport and withdrawn a large sum from two accounts. As Red discovers, his lover had deceived him--a master illusionist--about almost everything: her past, her family, her job. When he realises that she had done so not out of malice but self-protection, he is determined to find her killer. The Houdini Girl defies genres. It is a murder mystery in which the victim is offed in the initial pages. It is a tragic love story. It is a tale of double lives and identities--even Rosa's cat has two names. 384pp.

ISBN: 0140272887

£Now with a new owner.