John Pilkington’s new historical mystery is set in 1891 London. Three years since the notorious Ripper murders, and the last thing the city needs is another killer on the streets. But this one targets the strangest of victims: popular Music Hall performers – two in quick succession, outside the famous Tivoli Theatre.
The Tivoli Murders
With 20 highly successful historical mysteries to his name, John Pilkington time travels a few centuries from his regularly frequented Tudor and Stuart periods to centre his latest novel in the world of the Victorian Music Hall, and more specifically the world of stage magic.
A master in his field, this author’s books never disappoint. Meticulously researched, his storytelling is inventive, entertaining and keeps the reader’s curiosity piqued throughout.
The decision to set his latest work in the late 1890’s not only gave the author an opportunity to explore his personal interest in stage magic but highlights that whatever time period he visits, the result will be a page-turner that adds to his standing as one of the genre’s most accomplished writers.
London, 1891. It is three years since the notorious Ripper murders, and the last thing the city needs is another killer on the streets. But this one targets the strangest of victims: popular Music Hall performers – two in quick succession, outside the famous Tivoli Theatre.
Behind its spangled façade, the Music Hall world is one of competing artistes, hard-nosed impresarios and big profits. Inspector Maskell of The Metropolitan Police is desperate for a lead in the case – and soon Sam Vasey, son and manager of Albert Vasey, better known as celebrated illusionist The Great Albertini, is caught up in the mystery.
A vicious campaign of sabotage is being waged against the Albertini Company: tricks go wrong, stooges in the audience cause trouble. Ruthless West End agent Lysander Hobbs, an old rival of Albert’s, could be behind it.
Anything seems possible in the cutthroat arena of Stage Magic – but would even Hobbs stoop to murder? Things reach a devastating climax at the Star Music Hall in Bermondsey when Albert’s most spectacular illusion goes badly wrong before a sell-out crowd – resulting in the disappearance of his onstage assistant Mirabel. And when she too is found dead, there is near panic across the city.
With the Albertini show grounded, Sam throws his energy into helping the police investigation, aided by his trusted helper, ex-soldier Bradby Durrell. And when the widow of one of the murdered men – Chen-Li ,the Chinese juggler – comes to them in fear for her life, the Vaseys give her sanctuary. But who is Madame Chen afraid of – and why won’t she tell?
After many a twist and turn, Sam finds his own life in danger when he is warned off at gunpoint. The hunt takes us from the bright lights of the West End to the gas lit, fogbound streets of London’s darker side – but the origins of the mystery lie far from England’s shores.
For the Great Albertini and his son it has become a matter of survival, or utter ruin.
With the author’s books receiving critical acclaim, literary comments include:
“Pilkington successfully draws readers into his world and keeps them turning the pages” – Booklist
“A master of the historical mystery” – Publisher’s Weekly
About the author:
Having given up trying to become a rock star after playing guitar in various bands, John Pilkington began writing around 40 years ago. He has written plays for radio and theatre, television scripts for the BBC and over 20 historical novels. His series include the Thomas the Falconer Mysteries, the Betsy Brand Restoration Theatre mysteries, the Martin Marbeck espionage mysteries and the Justice Belstrang Mysteries trilogy, all Amazon best-sellers. He has also written a children’s series, the Elizabethan Mysteries, one of which was short-listed for an award for children’s historical fiction.
Born in Lancashire, he now lives in a quiet village in Devon with his partner, and has a son who is a psychologist and musician. When not at the desk he may be found walking by the river, doing a little carpentry or listening to music, and reading of course. As always, he is currently gathering ideas for his next project.
Find more from John Pilkington:
Published by Sharpe Books, The Tivoli Murders is available in paperback (£7.99) and Kindle format on Amazon at amazon.co.uk/dp/B09NNTR8CH (£2.99) and on amazon.com at $3.97
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