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The Last Illusion by Rhys Bowen Review

Title: The Last Illusion

Author: Rhys Bowen

First published March 2, 2010

288 pages, Hardcover

ISBN: 9780312385408 (ISBN10: 0312385404)

Rating: 4


Molly Murphy, a plucky Irish immigrant and private investigator, is over the moon when she receives a coveted ticket to see the famous illusionist trio that is the talk of New York City. Headlining the show is none other than the legendary Harry Houdini, fresh from entertaining European royalty.

But when the opening act goes horribly awry and accusations fly, Molly finds herself hired as a detective and bodyguard for Houdini himself. With danger lurking around every corner, Molly must use her wits and bravery to uncover whether the illusions are all just part of the show or if something more sinister is at play.

Rhys Bowen’s The Last Illusion is a thrilling tale filled with unforgettable characters, historical detail, and a touch of magic.

About the Author

Hello there! I’m a mystery author who has been recognized as a New York Times bestseller and the winner of both Agatha and Anthony awards for my Molly Murphy mysteries. These stories are set in New York City in 1902, and I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from readers.

My latest work involves four WWII novels, which have all become international bestsellers. One of them even reached the #1 spot on Kindle! The Tuscan Child has sold almost a million copies to date, and In Farleigh Field won three major awards, as well as an Edgar nomination.

Additionally, I’ve written stand-alone novels such as The Victory Garden, which tells the story of land girls in WWI, and Above the Bay of Angels, which follows a young woman who becomes a chef for Queen Victoria. I’m excited to announce that my newest book, THE VENICE SKETCHBOOK, will be released in April 2021.

It’s another sweeping historical novel that touches on love, loss, and intrigue.

My work has been translated into 29 languages, and I have fans all over the world. I also write the Agatha-winning Royal Spyness series, which is a fun and witty satire about the British royal family in the 1930s.

This series was even voted as the best mystery series by readers one year! I’m also known for my Constable Evans books, which take place in North Wales, as well as my award-winning short stories.

Although I was born and raised in England, I now split my time between California and Arizona, where I go to escape the harsh California winters. When I’m not writing, I enjoy traveling, singing, hiking, and playing my Celtic harp.

Editoral Review

Rhys Bowen’s The Last Illusion is a thrilling historical mystery novel that will transport readers to the 1900s in New York City. The book, first published on March 2, 2010, is a masterfully crafted work that combines elements of romance, crime, and suspense to create a compelling narrative.

Set against the backdrop of the Gilded Age, The Last Illusion follows the story of Molly Murphy, a feisty and determined young woman who has recently arrived in New York City from Ireland. After being accused of murder, Molly must clear her name and uncover the true culprit, all while navigating the complexities of a society dominated by men and the wealthy elite.

One of the strengths of Bowen’s writing is her ability to create vivid and authentic characters. Molly is a particularly compelling protagonist, with a sharp wit and a keen sense of justice that make her both relatable and admirable.

The supporting cast is equally well-drawn, with each character bringing their own unique perspective and personality to the story.

In addition to its strong characters, The Last Illusion is also notable for its expert pacing and intricate plot structure. Bowen keeps readers on the edge of their seats with a series of unexpected twists and turns, each one building towards a satisfying conclusion.

The historical setting is also well-researched and immersive, with details of life in turn-of-the-century New York City adding depth and richness to the story.

That being said, there are a few weaknesses to The Last Illusion that are worth noting. Some readers may find the romance subplot a bit predictable or clichéd, and there are moments where the dialogue feels a bit stilted or forced.

Additionally, the book’s treatment of issues like gender and class can feel a bit simplistic at times, lacking the nuance and complexity that these topics deserve.

Overall, however, The Last Illusion is a highly enjoyable and engaging read that will appeal to fans of historical fiction, mystery, and romance alike. Bowen’s skillful writing and expert storytelling make this book a standout in its genre, and its themes of justice, independence, and perseverance are as relevant today as they were a century ago.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars