The Magician's Lie by Greer Macallister
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Mystery
The Amazing Arden is the most famous female illusionist of her day, renowned for her notorious trick of sawing a man in half on stage. One night in Waterloo, Iowa, with young policeman Virgil Holt watching from the audience, she swaps her trademark saw for a fire ax. Is it a new version of the illusion, or an all-too-real murder? When Arden’s husband is found lifeless beneath the stage later that night, the answer seems clear.
The Magician's Lie kept me hooked pretty much from start to finish. It's historical fiction and magical realism with a touch of mystery thrown in. I was actually expecting much more investigation of that mystery, but instead we get the back story of the main character after she is arrested as she tries to explain what happened and why. The story was very interesting and I got sucked into it right along with the police officer in the book, it kind of felt like Scheherazade spinning her tale all through the night to save her life. It really left me wondering throughout most of the book whether or not she was telling the truth and what the lie is that the title eludes to.
Probably the biggest flaw of the book for me was the police officer didn't seem very competent. Nothing he did seemed very much in line with what a police officer would do, even back in the early 1900s. I could also probably pick the book apart and say that the way men and women acted around each other wasn't always in line with the way they would have behaved around each other during that time period, but it really didn't bother me in this particular story. I'm happy to say that this one lived up to my expectations.
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