So, The Blood Card confirms that I’ve found my new favourite cosy crime / murder mystery series. This is the third novel in Elly Griffiths’ Brighton Mysteries series, set in 1950s Brighton and featuring the highly-likeable crime solving duo: magician Max Mephisto and DI Edgar Stephens.
God Save the Queen
Plot-wise, The Blood Card does very much pick up where Smoke and Mirrors left off, so it definitely helps to have read the previous books. The title (like its series predecessors) refers to a magic trick. I love this recurring theme, due to the inclusion of the charismatic Max Mephisto and his specialist subject, magic. It all ties back to an on-going story of Max and Edgar’s time in a secret WW2 operative called The Magic Men…
When their old commander, Colonel Cartwright is murdered, it’s up to Max and Ed to find out why… Meanwhile, a local fortune-teller Madame Zabini dies in suspicious circumstances, could there be a link somehow?
Fittingly, I am reading this in a special year for Queen Elizabeth II, 2022 sees the platinum jubilee celebrations for her 70 years on the throne and her actual coronation in 1953 is a key part of the plot in The Blood Card.
The dawn of television
I also loved the other theme the story mused on – the rise in the popularity of television and how this will effect the lives of traditional vaudeville performers. Max is making his TV debut in a variety-themed show for the coronation and he has more than a few thoughts on this.
We also got to know more about some of the other characters; Max’s daughter – and fellow magician – Ruby and her relationship with Edgar was given more layers and police officer Emma comes into her own too, which I really enjoyed.
Fast-paced, full of heart and with a dramatic finish. I listened to The Blood Card on audiobook and it was perfect to dip into while walking and tidying up my house. Bring on the next book in the series!
- Get your copy of The Blood Card here;
- Audiobook narrated by Luke Thompson
- Running time: 7 hrs 1 mins
- Published by Quercus 2016;
- 384 pages;
- My rating: