Forgotten Books: Escapade by Walter Satterthwait

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

escapadeThis is the first of three novels Satterthwait has written with these characters. I read the second one first, by accident, then went back to read this one.

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)

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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10 Responses to Forgotten Books: Escapade by Walter Satterthwait

  1. tracybham says:

    This is very interesting, Richard. I have some of Satterthwait’s Joshua Croft books (not read yet), but had not heard about this series. It sounds very good.

  2. Like Tracy, I’ve read some of Satterthwait’s Joshua Croft books, but not the Phil Beaumont & Jane Turner novels. I’ll have to track them down. Nice review!

  3. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I read this one and enjoyed it, but somehow haven’t gone back to the other two in the series.

    No Pronzini or Muller review today?

  4. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Feel better.

    I liked Satterthwait’s short stories too, and I’ve read the entire Croft series.

  5. I remember reading this many MANY years ago, Richard, but can’t remember much about it. In fact, your review didn’t ring any bells so many I didn’t read it at all. I know that I was always a bit disappointed in Satterthwaite’s books after reading and enjoying the Croft books so much. I always thought those Croft books were the cream of the crop as far as he was concerned. Always wondered why he stopped writing them.

    Hope you’re feeling a bit better these days, Richard.

  6. I am not familiar with the author, Richard. But this book in particular sounds fascinating, mainly because of the characters.

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