Crabtree, Elisabeth: Deadly Magic (Grace Holliday I) (2012)

Deadly Magic transported me to the days of Tuppence and Tommy. A modern technology version of the two, yet leaving me with the sense of a bygone era. I had fun with Grace and …, their meeting and the mystery (death) that brought them together.

Who dun’ its seem to have vanished from my reading habits. Goodness knows why. Perhaps I haven’t felt the need. Reading Deadly Magic prodded that desire in me.

Corpses kept on turning up. First there was Lily. Usually the first person to be killed is the main target. Deadly Magic kept to the script of the traditional mystery style. There was no real magic involved. Just magicians with their illusions. Grace was just a regular office worker with a harsh boss.

In some ways I used to be like Grace. Perhaps my autism makes me believe just about anything people tell me. Some people probably find that convenient while others get annoyed. My sense of fair play would have made remaining an employee of Straker extremely difficult. But I have worked with people who remained in such situations for one reason or another. Grace accepts Straker’s comments and behavior to a certain point. Once he crossed that line, she spoke up without being rude. I wish I could do that.

The other characters support Grace, so we only get glimpses of some of their traits. One of them doesn’t mind breaking all societal rules. Like a lot of literary crooks, this person’s compatriot has a talent for rationalization.

Elisabeth Crabtree’s style completely fooled me in one regard. For some reason I was convinced we were in London when in fact we were in New York. Perhaps that had to do with the way most of the story happened in  three buildings, rather than outside. One was the old office building. The second was the deadly theater and the third was Grace’s apartment.

Grace is asked to investigate the death by her boss. She discovers that he has asked most of his employees to do the same. But Grace feels that something is off with the apparent suicide and decides to take her investigations seriously. Looking into murder without the authority of the police behind you can be a dangerous venture. Perhaps betrayal lurks. Grace seems blissfully uncaring about the dangers involved. There are people like that out there. I know several of them. Nuts the whole bunch, but fun to be around.

If you want to read something lighthearted and fun with a little suspense, this might well be the book for you.


Deadly Magic available on Amazon US

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