Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (October 27)

First Chapter

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

Today’s opening comes from Smoke and Mirrors by Elly Griffiths, the second in the Max Mephisto and DI Edgar Stephens series which began with The Zig-Zag Girl.

Smoke and Mirrors


Brighton, winter 1951.
Pantomime season is in full swing on the pier with Max Mephisto starring in Aladdin, but Max’s headlines have been stolen by the disappearance ­­of two local children. When they are found dead in the snow, surrounded by sweets, it’s not long before the press nickname them ‘Hansel and Gretel’.
DI Edgar Stephens has plenty of leads to investigate. The girl, Annie, used to write gruesome plays based on the Grimms’ fairy tales. Does the clue lie in Annie’s unfinished – and rather disturbing – last script? Or might it lie with the eccentric theatricals who have assembled for the pantomime?
Once again Edgar enlists Max’s help in penetrating the shadowy theatrical world that seems to hold the key. But is this all just classic misdirection? NetGalley

~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

Hastings 1912

Stan entered stage left. Of course he did; he was the villain. Villains always enter from the left, the Good Fairy from the right. It’s the first law of pantomime But, in this case, Stan Parks (The Wicked Baron) came running onto the stage in answer to a scream from Alice Dean (Robin Hood). He came quickly because Alice was not normally given to screaming Eve when Stan had tried to kiss her behind the flat depicting Sherwood Forest she hadn’t screamed; instead she had simply delivered an efficient uppercut that had left him winded for hours. So he responded to the sound, in his haste falling over two giant toadstools and a stuffed fox.

Chapter 1
Brighton 1951
It was snowing when Edgar Stephens woke up. The view from his window, the tottering Regency terraces leading down to the sea, was frosted and magical. But the sight gave him no pleasure at all. He hated the snow. He still had nightmares about the Norway campaign, the endless march over the ice, his companions falling into the drifts to freeze where they ay, the moments when the bright white landscape seemed to rearrange itself into fantastical shapes and colours, the soft voices speaking from the frozen lakes: ‘Lie down and I’ll give you rest for ever’

Please note that these excerpts are taken from a proof copy

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A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

36 thoughts on “First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (October 27)

  1. What a great choice, Cleo! I do really like Elly Griffiths’ writing, and I give her credit for ‘branching out’ into this Max Mephisto series. I’ll be keen to know what you thought of it when you’ve finished it.


  2. I love that opening. It starts off so calmly and then as the first paragraph continues, the suspense builds. I haven’t tried anything by this author before, but I think I would quite enjoy this book.


    1. This book, and the previous one, is quite hard to fit into a genre, it almost has a cosy feel with a historical bent, but not quite – I know that probably makes no sense, but whatever it is I really enjoy it


  3. I still need to read Zig Zag Girl soon, but this one won’t be out here for quite a while anyway. A good choice and I’m looking forward to this new series by one of my favorite authors. 🙂


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