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As If By Magic
A Jack Haldean Murder Mystery - Book III

by Dolores Gordon-Smith


South African George Lassiter is down on his luck after being cheated out of a huge inheritance. Ill, penniless and desperate he staggers into a house that looks oddly familiar... and witnesses a murder. But when the police arrive the body has vanished, and George is taken to hospital. It is only by chance that novelist Jack Haldean hears of him and remembers his old wartime comrade-in-arms. Rescued and installed in Jack’s apartment it is time for the pair to start trying to find out why somebody pretending to be George has already claimed his birthright.

Only the third book in the series, and already there is a totally different setting and cast, apart from Jack. We have had a country fete and house party setting for the previous two, and now London is the venue for what is, in my opinion, the best so far of a very good bunch. This is a story that constantly surprises, and which does not really even hint on the flyleaf—or in the description above—what the book is about. Something happens on every page, and what follows is a melange of old family secrets, assorted dastardly doings and shenanigans in the world of aviation. Apart from all this delightfully convoluted plotting we get to know a new cast of characters considerably well quite quickly, but even this is not the most impressive feature of this book. My admiration in particular has to be for the way in which the author depicts the heady world of aviation when it was still new enough to be exciting. This was a time when war planes were giving way to those used for pleasure, and people had dreams of owning their own and all that could entail. There is a palpable enthusiasm for this lost world in here, which is as enjoyable as the actual murder mystery. Here is a book that sets a high standard, and I find myself eager to read book four. If you enjoy writers like Barbara Cleverly then this will appeal—very highly recommended.

The Book

Constable (Constable and Robinson)
June 2009
1845299361 / 9781845299361
Historical Mystery / 1923 / London
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2009
© 2009