Set in London in the days of horse and carriage and popular Music Halls, this is a murder mystery tale with a twist. The main characters are young adults who have developed a strong friendship and loyalty to each other. The Mystery takes place in Campions, a Music Hall which is suffering from low attendances and is looking forward to Gandini the Magician coming there to perform. Aurora, Effie and Rose, are the three girls who are always at Campions, and perform various acts as well.
Aurora, previously left as a baby on the steps of the Music Hall, has just discovered her real father, who is delighted to acknowledge her. He is a Lord, and a fine actor. Rose was also an abandoned baby and was left for Thomas, the owner of Campions, to find. He raised her as his own child, and she is firmly entrenched in the theatre.
One night when the Great Gandini is opening his magic act, a beautiful young woman comes into the theatre wearing a magnificent blue diamond. The Doomstone, as it is called, is being auctioned, and Lydia, a newcomer to the scene, is promoting it. As the lights go down and the magician begins his miraculous performance, there is a scream. Lydia is bleeding and the diamond is missing. What pandemonium breaks out! The minders who were right behind Lydia frantically search everywhere, but cannot find a clue.
Scotland Yard is notified, and a Police Inspector comes to investigate. There are many characters around a Theatre, and many people who could benefit from stealing the diamond, but where does one begin when it seemed to just vanish! Was the Great Magician, who was performing at that moment, clever enough to spirit it away? Or was it a cunning plan by some suspicious new employees? Rose knows she will have to use her advantage as an Insider, to help solve this extremely complex and dangerous case.
Gandini’s new assistant is murdered, and one of the stage hands is beaten badly. Things are becoming desperate. The Police Inspector suggests that the case is lost with the death of a witness, but Rose knows she must persevere for the sake of her theatre family.
This is quite an accurate depiction of the times, and the characters. The language is authentic, “Someone cut ér throat to prig that gem.” The characters with waxed handlebar moustaches, and pocket watches also talk of the era. This is a comprehensive tale, which covers murder, mystery, imprisonment, poverty, and the hub bub of life in London at this time.
|Distributor||Allen and Unwin|