Give ‘Em the Old Razzle Dazzle*

Confessions of a Mystery Novelist...

As this is posted, it would have been Phineas Taylor (P.T.) Barnum’s 208th birthday. As you’ll know, he was a master showman and entrepreneur. His circus was one of the most famous in the world, and he was highly skilled at ‘smoke and mirrors.’

Barnum hasn’t been the only one who was skilled at separating people from their money and dazzling them with illusions. There’ve been plenty of people who were masters of those skills.  And it’s interesting to see them in crime fiction. It’s just as interesting to see how other characters are willing to believe what they see.

For instance, in Caroline Graham’s A Ghost in the Machine, we meet self-styled medium Ava Garrett. She’s very good at creating the illusion that she can actually communicate with those who’ve passed away. So, when financial advisor Dennis Brinkley is killed in what looks like a terrible accident…

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