My grateful thanks to Hannah Robinson at Quercus books for a copy of Smoke and MIrrors by Elly Griffiths in return for an honest review. ‘Smoke and Mirrors’ was published in hardback on 5th November 2015. It is also available as an ebook.
‘Smoke and Mirrors’ is the second in the Stephens and Mephisto series by Elly Griffiths, but not having read the first book made no difference to my enjoyment of this one.
When two children go missing in Brighton during the pantomime season, there are horrible similarities with a murder in another panto almost 40 years earlier. Could they be connected?
I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Smoke and Mirrors’, the title being totally apt as a theme throughout, referring to the actual events in the panto as well as the twists and turns in the story. Elly Griffiths writes so cleverly that the reader is kept guessing along with DI Edgar Stephens and his team.
There’s quite a cast of characters, which I sometimes find confusing in novels, but here all of them were so well portrayed that each was easy to get to know and care about. By the end of the story I wanted to go back and read the first in the Stephens and Mephisto series to learn more about them, especially Max and Ruby, and I am looking forward to finding out what happens to them next. Even the weather feels like a character and helps create brilliant atmosphere.
What makes reading Elly Griffiths so enjoyable is that she constructs a tight plot with natural, almost conversational, writing so that there is no effort needed in reading her – just pleasure. Direct speech is lively and engaging, adding to the narrative in a way that feels perfect for the era and setting.
As the story is set in the run up to Christmas, ending on Christmas Eve, I think Smoke and Mirrors would make a perfect gift for any crime fiction lover. It’s a really good read.