Elephants in the Distance Hardcover – Mar 1989
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
From Publishers Weekly
This neat, oddly oblique puzzle will please mystery fans and delight magic devotees. Paul Galliard, Ph.D. candidate in Civil War history and a part-time magician, earns a living acting in TV commercials. Thirty years ago, his headliner father Thomas died on a live TV magic show doing the "bullet-catch" stunt. Now, Paul's old mentor Josef Schneider has a fatal heart attack while performing at a children's party. When Paul suffers a mysterious seizure after inflating some balloons from Schneider's prop case, he has them tested and finds they've been doped. An odd fire in Paul's apartment destroys the evidence, another old friend of Paul's father dies in a freak accident at a TV rehearsal and Paul realizes someone's out to get the survivors of a WW II troupe of magician-spies. There's a third murder before Paul unlocks the puzzle during a TV special in which he re-creates the bullet catch. He also uncovers a 30-year-old mystery and this time the stunt really is death defying. This is great, light-handed fun from Edgar nominee Stashower ( The Adventure of the Ectoplasmic Man ). Literary Guild alternate.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
Once a graduate student, the hero could not resist the lure of the magicians life he had known as a child before his father died as the consequence of a trick gone wrong. After that, he had been exposed to some of the old magician friends of his father, one of whom dies doing a trick at the beginning of the book.
The author has the gift of communicating with a minimum of words, providing little information not needed to sketch a character or a situation, yet leaving this reader ( at least) with a sense of knowing what there is a need to know. I would recommend the book to any mystery reader who likes quirky characters and an insiders story of an arcane profession.
The basic story/mystery is a good one and is well presented.
But the dialog is wonderful!
* Conversation between a medical friend and the pig she is dissecting.
* The main character talking with a little girl about her birthday party when the magician entertaining them keeled over and managing to get the information he wants without upsetting her.
A clever bit of writing.