Ta-da! Magicians In Mysteries
The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister
This starts with a woman telling the reader she is going to kill her husband (the exact moment I was all in) and then proceeds with a past and present timeline to reveal all.
The Amazing Arden is a female illusionist in the early 1900s known for such amazing acts as sawing a man in half, until one night her husband is found murdered on stage and she’s disappeared. Depending on who you’re rooting for, lucky/unlucky for her, police officer Virgil Holt captures her. Holt is hiding a recent disability, terrified that he’ll be fired because of it, and views catching Arden as his ticket to keeping his job. But Arden swears up and down on everything that she is innocent and did not kill her husband. So while handcuffed to a chair, Arden tells Holt the story of her life, including how she became an illusionist, and how she came to be running away from the murder of her husband.
Past and present timelines only work for me when both timelines offer me enough interesting stories that I don’t feel like it needs to hurry up already so we can get back to the mystery. I was always interested in Arden’s story, from childhood to present, but especially when she first stepped into a traveling performance and how she worked her way up. Learning about all the tricks and illusions in the 1800s was fun, and I loved the did-she-or-didn’t-she running element.
(TW cutting/ attempted child sexual assault/ animal cruelty/ brief mention murder suicide headline/ mentions sexual assault/ stalking/ kidnapping)