ELEPHANTS IN THE DISTANCE may not be the most scintillating title, but don't be put off. The book itself is a great find.
Paul Galliard is a young magician who makes spot removal commercials, as well as performing traditional magic. He used to be an academic doing graduate work on an obscure Civil War general, but the call of magic prevailed.
His father, Thomas Galliard, was a famous magician who died spectacularly on TV, during a dangerous trick called The Bullet Catch.
A producer is pressuring Paul to recreate his father's act (more successfully) for a TV special celebrating the popular 50's magic show where Thomas Galliard got his start - and met his end. Will Paul do it? This adds a nice bit of tension to the plot.
Meanwhile, his father's old magician associates are being murdered one by one, in ways that look natural or accidental. Paul, under threat himself, attempts to figure out what's going on.
This delightful book has it all - ingenious crimes, dry humor, plodding police, a charming romance with lots of witty banter, an inside look at magic (the author was a working magician) - and multiple surprises in the last few pages.