this is the 248th in my series of forgotten or seldom read books
Escapade by Walter Satterthwait, St. Martin’s Dead Letter, 1996, paperback, mystery, country house mystery, featuring Phil Beaumont & Jane Turner
Because of the characterization, settings and “voice” these books just cry out to be called “stylish” and “smart” as if they were frocks in the Spring collection. Okay, those descriptions are apt as long as it’s understood that it’s the personality of the characters that deserves the credit. In this book the protagonist is a bodyguard for Houdini, whose life has been threatened. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle also is a guest at the country house location.
Doyle doesn’t really have much of a role and could easily have been omitted. Houdini is important not only as the protagonist’s employer but also because his insight into the necessary elements of a successful magic trick (timing, encouraging the audience to make a false assumption) allows him to puzzle out the solution of a murder which appears to be a locked-room suicide. Enjoyable.
The Phil Beaumont & Jane Turner novels:
- Escapade (1996)
- Masquerade (1998)
- Cavalcade (2005)