Smoke and Mirrors astounds
Smoke and Mirrors by Casey Daniels Severn House Mystery & Thrillers Pub Date 01 Nov 2017
To some degree we are all fascinated by the rare, the unusual and the grotesque. PT Barnum made his name and fortune satisfying our craving for the bizarre. Casey Daniels has taken history and put her own stamp creating a heroine as unusual for her time as one of Barnum’s oddities. Evangeline acts as Phin’s assistant and aide de camp running the American Museum. Quick witted and willing to make her living in a man’s world, it is no wonder that she begins investigating when an old friend is murdered and one of her brother’s employees goes missing. But far more is involved than a simple case of murder. The victim’s sister is missing and Evangeline fears for the worst.
Besides being a bang up mystery, Smoke and Mirrors is a novel about judgement based on appearances, and the hypocrisy of social propriety. If Evangeline’s secrets were known, she would be judged and outcast, though she is compassionate and courageous. She struggles, attempting to do what is right, while knowing that as a woman her actions reflect on her brother and his family - a fact her sister in law is quick to remind her of. The novel questions a woman’s place, and points out the difficulty of challenging conventions. From beginning to end, Smoke and Mirrors captured my imagination. Though it may be a historical mystery, Smoke and Mirros has a lot to say about the present, and our willingness to judge based on scant information and long held prejudices.
5 / 5
I received a copy of Smoke and Mirrors from the publisher and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
Introducing museum curator and amateur sleuth Miss Evie Barnum in the first of a deliciously quirky new historical mystery series. Evie Barnum is in charge of her brother’s museum, a place teeming with scientific specimens and “human prodigies” including a bearded woman and the lizard man. In this weird and whacky workplace, Evie hopes she can bury her secrets. But when an old friend shows up and begs for her help, she does all she can to stay away. The next time she sees him, he is dead in front of the exhibit of the Feejee Mermaid. Suspicion for the murder falls on Jeffrey, known as the Lizard Man, but Evie knows it isn’t possible. When Jeffrey also goes missing, Evie becomes determined to solve the mystery of her friend’s murder, even if it brings her face to face with her past…