The Zig Zag Girl by Elly GriffithsThe Zig Zag Girl by Elly Griffiths

The Zig Zag Girl

byElly Griffiths

Paperback | September 6, 2016

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Brighton, 1950. A girl is found cut into three pieces. Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens is convinced the killer is mimicking a famous magic trick-the Zig Zag Girl. The inventor of the trick, Max Mephisto, is an old war friend of Edgar's. They served in a special ops troop called the Magic Men that used stage tricks to confound the enemy. Max still performs, touring seaside towns with ventriloquists, sword-swallowers, and dancing girls. When Edgar asks for his help with the case, he tells him to identify the victim quickly; it takes a special sidekick to do the Zig Zag Girl-words that haunt Max when he learns the dead girl is Ethel, one of his best assistants to date.
Another death, another magic trick, and still no killer. But when Edgar receives a letter warning of another "trick" on the way-the Wolf Trap-he knows the Magic Men are in the killer's sights.
ELLY GRIFFITHS is the author of the Ruth Galloway and Magic Men mystery series. She is a recipient of the Mary Higgins Clark Award.
Title:The Zig Zag GirlFormat:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.83 inPublished:September 6, 2016Publisher:Houghton Mifflin HarcourtLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0544811879

ISBN - 13:9780544811874

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great! This book combined a few things that I loved - mystery, magic and post-war England. It was an easy and interesting read, great for when you want to curl up with a book instead of Netflix!
Date published: 2017-07-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from entertaining - a glimpse into post-war England with magic tricks thrown in I read this in a couple of sittings. Really enjoyable - carefully researched background into the show biz world of 1950s England, with an interesting side of military intrigue. Griffiths' writing is restrained and concise, which I also enjoy.
Date published: 2016-12-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from BEST IN THE SERIES SO FAR Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway is surprised to receive a letter from a university friend that she has not seen in 20 years; especially since she found out the day before that he had died in a house fire. The letter asks whether Ruth would be interested in helping on an exciting archaeological discovery he had recently made. Ominously, the letter also states that he “… is afraid. That’s it, just afraid”. Despite her misgivings her curiosity is peeked and she heads off to Lancashire. Coincidentally enough, DCI Harry Nelson (the married father of her daughter) is vacationing in the same place. Avoiding each other is not an option as strange things about the dig and the university come to light and both Ruth and Harry are drawn into the investigation. Elly Griffiths has given readers another great entry in this series. The usual cast was included in the story and to my delight we learned a little more about Cathbad, one of my favorite of Ruth’s friends. In my personal opinion this is the best book in the series so far.
Date published: 2013-05-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Just an excellent series I was hooked on this series by Elly Griffiths from the very first book. A Dying Fall is the fifth (and latest) entry in her Ruth Galloway Mystery series. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it and settle in for a great read with characters I truly enjoy. Ruth is a forensic archaeologist at the University in North Norfolk, England. An expert in bones, she is often called in to assist police, museums and on other digs. Ruth receives a letter from Dan - an old friend from her university days. They haven't really kept in touch, but the letter piques her curiosity. Dan is also an archaeologist, attached to a university in Lancashire. His letter says he has discovered the bones of 'The Raven King.' Ruth tries to contact him, without result. Until that university calls asking if Ruth could come up and look at some bones for them - their archaeologist Dan Golding has been killed in a tragic accident. Or was it? Detective Chief Inspector Harry Nelson, on vacation with his wife becomes involved as well. Why do I love this series so much? The characters. Griffiths has created a wonderful protagonist in Ruth. I just really like her. She's decidedly unique and different. She is a single mother at forty plus, overweight, messy, introverted, but highly intelligent and curious. Griffiths has not endowed her with super sleuth abilities, rather she comes off as an actual person - unabashedly and happily herself. Her only worry is raising her daughter Kate. Kate's father is the married Harry Nelson. The evolution of his and Ruth's relationship has kept me quite enthralled from the beginning. With Harry's acknowledgment of Kate as his daughter, things have become even more entangled. The supporting cast of characters is just as intriguing. Cathbad, the self proclaimed Druid takes a leading role in A Dying Fall. I enjoy his enigmatic ways and his pagan beliefs. His personal storyline is just as complicated as Ruth's - involving a sergeant from Nelson's staff. I have to say, he rivals Ruth for my favourite character. Little Kate's personality is being drawn as well - it's enjoyable to see her growing and talking. And this wonderful cast of characters carries along a clever, inventive plot involving Arthurian legends, neo-Nazi's and more I had my suspicions as to the culprit, but Griffiths surprised me at the end this time. I always learn something in Griffiths' books - the historical facts and mythical legends woven into the narrative often send me searching the Internet to read more. Griffiths has done it again - hooked me with a great read that I finished too quickly and left me waiting for the next in this engaging series. Definitely recommended.
Date published: 2013-03-20

Editorial Reviews

One of Entertainment Weekly 's 10 Great Fall Thrillers Clever, immensely likeable . . . Captivating . . . The Zig Zag Girl is old-fashioned in the best ways."- The Wall Street Journal "With a labyrinthine plot, a splendid reveal and superb evocation of the wafer-thin veneer of glamour at the bottom end of showbusiness, this is thoroughly enjoyable."- Guardian, "Best Crime Novels Round-Up" "With her cast of quirky characters, her excellent plotting, and a twist that readers won't see coming, readers will finish looking forward to the next trick up [Griffiths's] sleeve."- Mystery Scene "An interesting change of direction for the talented Griffiths . . . Enormously engaging . . . Post-war Brighton and its Theatre Royal are beautifully captured in all their seedy glory, and Griffiths's plot is satisfyingly serpentine . . . Subtle, charming and very good indeed."- Daily Mail "A colourful crowd of ventriloquists and sword-swallowers, a world lovingly re-created in this original, lively and gripping work." - The Independent "Elly Griffiths's compelling novel The Zig Zag Girl takes readers on a wild ride full of mayhem, magic, and murder . . . Griffiths expertly weaves together Edgar's past and present into one fascinating mystery that will have readers hooked from the very start . . . Capturing both the vibrant qualities of the theater community while also expertly capturing its dark side, Griffiths creates a world where nothing is as it truly appears to be."- The Absolute "One to look forward to."- BookPage "Griffiths weaves a compelling tale rich with historical detail and a cast of eccentric characters."- Kirkus Reviews "Griffiths's ability to imbue atmosphere and create fascinating characters continues to make her an author every mystery lover should be reading. Lacking the usual forensics and druids of her previous series, this title may especially appeal to cozy and historical mystery fans." - Library Journal "Engaging . . . The portrayal of the backstage life and the onstage performances of illusionists forms a fascinating backdrop to the main action. Brief flashbacks to the Magic Men's wartime missions provide an equally gripping backstory. As the plot deepens, Griffiths's tone darkens, leading to a series of surprise twists. Readers will look forward to seeing a lot more of Max and company." - Publishers Weekly "