If you love the locked room mysteries of the Golden Age of Mysteries and the atmosphere of London in the 1930s, you will really enjoy Death and the Conjuror by Tom Mead (The Mysterious Press, 2022). In this debut novel, Mead introduces us to the aging magician, Joseph Spector, who knows a thing or two about mysteries and sleight of hand. Although Spector might have lost a step, his mind is as sharp as ever and he is tough to fool. And his knowledge of life behind the stage curtains often comes in handy.
In Death and the Conjuror, Scotland Yard Inspector George Flint is called to the residence of psychiatrist Anselm Rees. The doctor’s housekeeper and a patient, actress Della Cookson, found the doctor’s body in his office alone with all the doors and windows locked. And no murder weapon.
Flint turns to his old friend, the retired stage magician Joseph Spector, who has a knack for seeing what others want to keep hidden. But even he remains stumps as the investigation only turns up more secrets. The theft of an expensive painting seems connected to the case. And when there is a second closed room murder, they realize the murderer will stop at nothing to hide his or her tracks.
At the Pomegranate Theatre, tempers flared like oil lamps.
Mead does a great taking us back to the atmosphere of the classics set in London. Using the backdrop of actors and theaters only heightens the effect of not being able to believe what you see.
In Death and the Conjuror, Mead gives us a worthy tribute to the Golden Age whodunnits. He even gives a nod to Ellery Queen and others by adding a page for an interlude. In an interlude, the author tells the readers they have all the clues and should be able to identify the killer or killers. Also, like many of the classic detectives, Spector calls in all the suspects to the doctor’s residence before unmasking the killer.
With the stories Tom Mead’s Death and the Conjuror and Gigi Pandian’s Under Lock and Skeleton Key, the Locked Room puzzle mysteries are in good hands.A review of Death and the Conjuror by Tom Mead @TimSuddeth @OpeningaMystery #Mysteries #Golden Age Click To Tweet
Although this is Tom Mead’s first novel, his short stories have frequently been published. They can be found in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Mystery Scene, and Mystery Weekly, among others.
Fans can find several of his pieces in numerous anthologies. This includes “Heatwave” in The Best Mystery Stories of the Year 2021 (ed. Lee Child).
Mead is a member of the Crime Writers’ Organization and the International Thriller Writers’ Organization.
A few of his favorite authors include John Dickson Carr, Agatha Christie, and Ellery Queen.