It's the early 1900s in New York and illusionists are the rage. Irish immigrant and PI Molly Murphy and her husband-to-be Police Captain Daniel Sullivan have gone to the theaters to see a few of them.
The most sensational of them all, Harry Houdini, has returned from entertaining European kings and queens, czars and emperors for a brief run on Broadway. But Houdini can't even take the stage when, to the crowd's shock, the opening act goes horribly wrong and an illusionist saws into his assistant.
Critically injured, she's rushed to the hospital with little chance of surviving. In the aftermath, the stunned performer points the finger at rival illusionists including Houdini for tampering with the equipment he keeps under lock and key. And he's not the only one critical of "The King of Handcuffs." Risking his life every night, Houdini has raised the stakes to such a perilous level that he's putting lesser acts out of business.
With everyone on edge, Houdini's wife hires Molly as an investigator and bodyguard, but how can she protect a man who risks his life every night?
Rhys Bowen is author of the Anthony and Agatha Award-winning Molly Murphy mysteries, the Edger Award-nominated Evan Evans series, and the Royal Spyness series. Born in England, she lives in San Rafael, California.