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The Shell Game: A Mallory Novel

O'Connell, Carol

1,740 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0399144951 / ISBN 13: 9780399144950
Published by G P Putnam's Sons, New York, 1999
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
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About this Item

1999,1999 First Printing 1,3,5,7,9,10,8,6,4,2 Near Fine Book, Near Fine unclipped jacket, signed by the author on the title page, (signature only), 734 clean tight unmarked pages, red end pages, book has green boards with black spine, silver foil lettering on the front cover, red foil lettering on the spine, jacket is black with white and green lettering and three top hats on the front cover and spine, only very mild shelf wear to book and jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 003841

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Shell Game: A Mallory Novel

Publisher: G P Putnam's Sons, New York

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


When a legendary magic trick goes fatally wrong on live television, everyone believes that it had been a horrible accident, except for an aging magician in a private New York hospital and former streetchild-turned-NYPD officer Kathleen Mallory, who must search for a killer with a taste for the theatrical.


There has always been a touch of magic, a whiff of deception and illusion about Mallory, the New York homicide detective who never lets anyone call her Kathy. In highly praised books such as Killing Critics, Mallory's Oracle, and The Man Who Cast Two Shadows, Carol O'Connell has wrapped her fascinating, frustrating character in a cloak of myth. So it's no surprise that in her fifth adventure, Mallory is literally surrounded by magic and magicians, trying to find out why an old illusionist was killed while re-creating a famous trick involving four crossbows.

All of the suspects are magicians themselves, connected to the past and each other by events in Paris during World War II. One of them, a self-declared madman named Malakhai, lives in a mental hospital and maintains an elaborate fantasy involving his dead wife. There's a marvelous set piece early on--a poker game at which this invisible woman not only takes a seat but also makes bets, wins hands, and smokes lipsticked cigarettes. Of course Mallory is largely on her own in the investigation: she insults her only two friends and alienates all her police colleagues with her weird, unorthodox methods.

O'Connell is a richly poetic writer who fills her books with fleeting samples of everyone from Rilke and T.S. Eliot to Billie Holiday. Even if you're not deeply interested in how magicians work their magic, you should find enough other pleasures here to enjoy the author's superb bag of tricks. --Dick Adler

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