Martyn Bedford The Houdini Girl: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780375704765

The Houdini Girl: A Novel

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9780375704765: The Houdini Girl: A Novel
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"Unusually deft and witty dialogue--. With great aplomb, [Bedford] has brought off an erotic thriller."--The New York Times Book Review

In The Houdini Girl, award-winning mystery writer Martyn Bedford explores the pulsing spiritual chaos that lies at the heart of erotic obsession. Fletcher "Red" Brandon is a master magician who uses his talents to seduce Rosa, a flinty Irish woman. But when Rosa is killed suddenly, Red discovers secrets about the woman with whom he shared one sexy, combative, freewheeling year. Inside Rosa's shoulder bag are a wig and a stranger's passport. And when a routine investigation reveals that Rosa has vanished before--and that her father was a terrorist for the IRA--Peter suspects foul play.

Red finds himself in Amsterdam, a stranger stumbling through his lover's secret history. Following a trail of addiction, prostitution, and murder, Red's search for the truth becomes more and more laden with mystery and forces him to reveal his own unsavory secrets. Masterfully plotted, The Houdini Girl transcends sleight-of-hand trickery for a stunning tale of love, loss, and the lure of illusion.

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Review:

Fletcher Brandon, known onstage as Peter Prestige the Prodigious Prestidigitator (and offstage simply as Red), has never met anyone as alive as Rosa Kelly. Yet a year after their mutual seduction one night in an Oxford pub, this beautiful, foul-mouthed, flinty Irishwoman is dead--either a suicide or a murder victim. The magician, summoned from a show in the north of England, finds himself hoping that she has perpetrated an elaborate ruse: "I would've given anything for the coroner's officer to whisk away the sheet with a theatrical flourish to reveal a bare table and for Rosa, in a sequined costume, to emerge, stage left, with beaming radiance."

Though Red had seen Rosa the morning of her death, as long-haired and flamboyant as ever, the body's head is shaved and makeup-free. What's more, further investigation reveals that she had taken her passport and withdrawn a large sum from two accounts. And as Red discovers, his lover had deceived him--a master illusionist--about almost everything: her past, her family, her job. When he realizes that she had done so not out of malice but self-protection, he is determined to find her killer.

The Houdini Girl defies genres. It is a murder mystery in which the victim is offed in the initial pages. It is a tragic love story. It is a tale of double lives and identities--even Rosa's cat has two names. Martyn Bedford's third novel is also a physical and metaphysical exploration of the lure of magic, and of its abuses: one of Rosa's friends wonders, "Why are magicians so obsessed with bondage and penetration?" As the immensely talented Bedford powers through his tale of guilt and innocence (things that he knows are far from mutually exclusive), his flawed hero describes the tricks he and his assistant, the Lovely Kim, work on their audience. From the Zigzag Girl to the Lost Princess, these exploits are breathtakingly woven into the action and themes of the novel, which careens from Oxford to Amsterdam--where his heroine's irreparable past springs into full and sordid life. In the end, The Houdini Girl offers provocative proof of Auden's much-criticized line, "We must love one another or die." --Kerry Fried

From the Back Cover:

"Few authors have plumbed the metaphor that love is magic as thoroughly as Martyn Bedford . . . [He] is a master of control and technique . . . creating a web of intrigue, danger, and jolting surprises. The central irony--how a man trained in illusion as entertainment learned to his lasting regret that others deal in deceit from more complex motives--adds emotional resonance to a skillful work that transcends mere sleight of hand to achieve poignant meaning."

--Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

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Book Description Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, United States, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Unusually deft and witty dialogue--. With great aplomb, [Bedford] has brought off an erotic thriller. -- The New York Times Book Review In The Houdini Girl, award-winning mystery writer Martyn Bedford explores the pulsing spiritual chaos that lies at the heart of erotic obsession. Fletcher Red Brandon is a master magician who uses his talents to seduce Rosa, a flinty Irish woman. But when Rosa is killed suddenly, Red discovers secrets about the woman with whom he shared one sexy, combative, freewheeling year. Inside Rosa s shoulder bag are a wig and a stranger s passport. And when a routine investigation reveals that Rosa has vanished before--and that her father was a terrorist for the IRA--Peter suspects foul play. Red finds himself in Amsterdam, a stranger stumbling through his lover s secret history. Following a trail of addiction, prostitution, and murder, Red s search for the truth becomes more and more laden with mystery and forces him to reveal his own unsavory secrets. Masterfully plotted, The Houdini Girl transcends sleight-of-hand trickery for a stunning tale of love, loss, and the lure of illusion. Seller Inventory # BTE9780375704765

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