An escape artist plunges into the icy waters of Montreal’s St. Lawrence River, chained and nailed into a coffin—and never breaks free.
After they dredge him from the waves, Dr. Hope Sze resuscitates him, saving his life. When he regains consciousness, but not his memory of the event, he hires Hope to deduce who sabotaged his act. Even as she probes the case, and the strange world of magic and illusion, she must confront her own fears of death on the palliative care ward—and tackle the two toothsome men who can’t wait for her to choose between them.
“Entertaining and insightful.” —Publishers Weekly
“Narrating in a sprightly style while sharing some of the nitty-gritty of a resident’s job, Hope Sze is an utterly likeable character.”–Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine
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Montreal physician Hope Sze is looking for simple entertainment when she attends escape artist Elvis Serratore’s show, but when Elvis nearly dies in mid-act, Hope’s medical skills are available to save his life. She is less enthusiastic about his plea for her to use her detective skills to find out who tried to kill him by sabotaging his equipment.
The subject of unwanted fame as a sleuth, Hope struggles with a too-complex love life, is faced with an ominous death at the hospital at which she works and becomes concerned about a young patient whose requests have deeply disturbing implications. She soon learns that if she does not seek out mysteries, the mysteries will seek her.
The most recent installment in a series comprised thus far of three novels and a radio play, this novel demonstrates familiarity with the conventions of mysteries without being constrained by them and with the realities of Canada’s medical world. Although the tone is light, the author is not afraid to introduce darker themes. The three intertwining mysteries and Hope herself provide a narrative by turns entertaining and insightful.
Full Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine review (link will expire):
Publicity-seeking magician Elvis Serratore, in tribute to Houdini’s visit to Montreal nearly ninety years earlier, allows himself to be chained inside a coffin and dropped into the St. Lawrence River. When the escape fails, Montreal medical resident Hope Sze is able to resuscitate him. Against physicians’ recommendations, the magician prepares for an encore, but wants Dr. Sze, with her reputation for solving crimes, to find out if someone wants him dead. Narrating in a sprightly style while sharing some of the nitty-gritty of a resident’s job, Hope Sze is an utterly likeable character.