The Magician’s Lie by Greer Macallister

Rating: 2 1/2 stars

The Amazing Arden was a famous illusionist. The story began with her husband being murdered. Arden was nowhere to be found, and everyone suspected it was her. A policeman Victor found her on the run. He was the only cop in his small town. He brought her to the police station and listened to her story.

At first it was interesting. Arden’s story was entertaining. She escaped from her childhood home at a young age to be free of her demented, obsessive cousin Ray. Then she met Clyde who she had feelings for, but their relationship was complicated. Around 30-35% it started to feel like the story wasn’t going anywhere, and it really dragged for a long time after that. None of it seemed to have anything to do with the murdered husband. It wasn’t much of a mystery. It was just a story about Arden’s life, which eventually lead up to the murder. There weren’t any lies as the title would lead you to believe. For a story about a female illusionist, there wasn’t any misdirection or illusions in her story. Parts of the story were predictable.

Certain things that happened seemed unlikely (but I admit not impossible) based on my historical knowledge of the time period, which was the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. None of them ruined the story, but they irritated me. First of all in modern times the spouse is the first suspect in a murder, but back then the family members were the last people police suspected. The police had some reasons to suspect her, but they were convinced of her guilt instantly. It didn’t add up for the time period IMO. Secondly the police station in a tiny town with only one cop had a phone, and the cop had a phone at his house since his wife kept calling. Really? It was freaking 1905! I know phones were around back then, but they certainly weren’t common especially in poor, tiny towns. I guess it could have been possible, but it didn’t sit right with me. Also Arden used protection when she had sex. Yeah? Like what kind? There were ways, but it wasn’t as easy as walking to the pharmacy to pick up the pill. I wanted more explanation on this to make it more believable. Last but not least, at one point Arden threatened to sue someone if they contacted her. People didn’t do shit like that back then! The phenomenon of suing people over every little grievance is a modern thing.

Anyway this wasn’t a complete waste of time. It was written well enough that I did enjoy parts of it, but I can’t exactly say I’d recommend this either.

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