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Publisher's Summary

Irish immigrant and private detective Molly Murphy is thrilled to have a ticket to see world-famous illusionist Harry Houdini. But before he can even take the stage, the opening act goes horribly wrong—and the sensational Signor Scarpelli’s lovely assistant is sawed in half. In the aftermath, Scarpelli accuses Houdini of tampering with his equipment. Who else but the so-called Handcuff King could have got a hold of his trunk of tricks, which he keeps under lock and key?
And it seems the maestro Scarpelli’s not the only one critical of Houdini. Now that he’s raised the stakes to such a perilous level, lesser acts are being put out of business. With everyone on edge, Houdini’s wife hires Molly to watch his back. But how can she protect a man who literally risks his life every night? Now it’s up to Molly to keep an eye on Houdini and find out whether these masters of illusion are simply up to their tricks—or if there truly is something much more treacherous going on…
©2010 Rhys Bowen (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Elkay on 04-12-14

Stop Taxing Your Delicate Ladybrain

I've mostly enjoyed this series - there is definitely a formula at work here, but it results in a good, light story with attention to historical detail. However: I flat-out HATE Daniel Sullivan, the main character's love interest, and I'm quickly losing respect for Molly as she seems to be oblivious to his unrelenting sexism. Also, Daniel and Molly keep having this conversation:

Molly: I need you to use your police skills to find out X.
Daniel: I will not, because I disapprove of your pursuit of your career, and also I think you are a hysterical female and no crime has actually occurred, you just think there is one because you are so fantasy-prone.
Molly: But (however many) people have died, and someone tried to kill me!
Daniel: Then your work is too dangerous and I forbid you to pursue it. Also, you're just imagining things.
Molly: I've also been receiving threatening letters/been poisoned/been locked in a trunk and thrown in the river, etc.
Daniel: Your delicate ladybrain is just overwrought (pats hand patronizingly). When we are married, you will not have to think anymore, you will just do what I say. Won't that be easier? Also, stop pursuing this dangerous career, which is full of terrible danger, even though you have imagined all this danger.

Adding to his terribleness, Daniel hates Molly's friends and actively works to keep her away from them, is embarrassed by her whenever he is with any of his friends or colleagues, and frequently mentions how once they are married, she will be too busy doing laundry and raising babies to do anything outside the home, in a "joking-not joking" kind of way. At the beginning of the series, there was some nice romantic tension between these two, but at this point I think the best thing that could happen would be for Daniel to die and for Molly to run off with Sid and Gus to start some sort of lesbian commune for artists and detectives.

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17 of 18 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By PNW on 10-31-14

Too Much 'Lucy You've Got Some 'Splainin' to Do'

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Interesting historical fiction and interlacing of fictional characters and historical figures such as Houdini. The heroine's 'young man' is an insufferable chauvinist who becomes increasingly annoying as the series progresses. He is a distraction and inconsistent with the independence and self actualization of the heroine. The neighbors across the street are much more interesting and a good vehicle for introducing new characters and settings to the series.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Last Illusion?

Interactions of the heroine and several White House officials.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Inability to voice multiple male characters. Inconsistent voicing of heroine, who sounds like a little Irish girl, a Brit, and a recent Irish immigrant. I'd prefer she voice and Irish woman and stick with that.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No, primarily because I've already listened to the story.

Any additional comments?

Rhys Bowen's Royal Spyness series is much superior to this one. The characters are reliably consistent.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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