cover image The Murder Wheel: A Joseph Spector Locked-Room Mystery

The Murder Wheel: A Joseph Spector Locked-Room Mystery

Tom Mead. Mysterious, $26.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-61316-409-9

Mead’s brilliant second Joseph Spector novel (following 2022’s Death and the Conjurer), again set in 1930s London, sees the retired magician saddled with three seemingly impossible murders to solve. First up is a bizarre killing committed on a Ferris wheel: bank manager Dominic Dean was fatally shot while he and his wife, Carla, were the only occupants of a compartment at the very top of the ride’s arc. That fact, coupled with Carla’s fingerprints on the revolver used to shoot Dominic, make her the obvious suspect, despite the absence of any apparent motive. The puzzle only becomes more intricate after her defense attorney, Edmund Ibbs, seeks exculpatory evidence, only to stumble into the middle of two other murders—one onstage at a magic show and one backstage—where he becomes the primary suspect. Spector gets involved and utilizes his unique illusionist knowledge to solve all three killings. Mead plays scrupulously fair with his readers, going so far as to include footnotes that identify which prior pages displayed clues in plain sight. Lovers of John Dickson Carr’s puzzle mysteries will hope Mead has many more Spector tales up his sleeve. Agent: Lorella Belli, Westbourne Studios. (July)