Death and the Conjuror

by Tom Mead

Available July 12
Hardcover $25.95
Purchase this title through a local bookstore using IndieBound

A magician-turned-sleuth in pre-war London solves three impossible crimes

In 1930s London, celebrity psychiatrist Anselm Rees is discovered dead in his locked study, and there seems to be no way that a killer could have escaped unseen. There are no clues, no witnesses, and no evidence of the murder weapon. Stumped by the confounding scene, the Scotland Yard detective on the case calls on retired stage magician-turned-part-time sleuth Joseph Spector. For who better to make sense of the impossible than one who traffics in illusions?

Spector has a knack for explaining the inexplicable, but even he finds that there is more to this mystery than meets the eye. As he and the Inspector interview the colorful cast of suspects among the psychiatrist’s patients and household, they uncover no shortage of dark secrets―or motives for murder. When the investigation dovetails into that of an apparently-impossible theft, the detectives consider the possibility that the two transgressions are related. And when a second murder occurs, this time in an impenetrable elevator, they realize that the crime wave will become even more deadly unless they can catch the culprit soon.

A tribute to the classic golden-age whodunnit, when crime fiction was a battle of wits between writer and reader, Death and the Conjuror joins its macabre atmosphere, period detail, and vividly-drawn characters with a meticulously-constructed fair play puzzle. Its baffling plot will enthrall readers of mystery icons such as Agatha Christie and John Dickson Carr, modern masters like Anthony Horowitz and Elly Griffiths, or anyone who appreciates a good mystery.

An engrossing tale of murder and magicians, and a revealing exploration of the ever-popular locked-room mystery, Mead’s debut is a novel to intrigue and delight.

—John Connolly

Tom Mead has created an intriguing set of puzzles on par with John Dickson Carr in Death and the Conjuror.  A true delight for mystery lovers!

—Daniel Stashower, two-time Edgar-winner and author of the Harry Houdini mysteries

With a deviously intricate locked-room plot, Death and the Conjuror unfolds as both an elegant tribute and a cunning update of the classic “impossible crime” story. Somewhere, the great John Dickson Carr is smiling.

—Daniel Stashower, two-time Edgar-winner and author of the Harry Houdini mysteries

Tom Mead is a UK-based author specializing in crime fiction. His stories have appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery MagazineAlfred Hitchcock Mystery MagazineLitro OnlineFlash: The International Short-Short Story MagazineLighthouseMystery Scene and Mystery Weekly (among others). Several of his pieces have also been anthologized, most recently “Heatwave” in The Best Mystery Stories of the Year 2021 (ed. Lee Child).