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Head of Zeus
Death and the Conjuror
02 Feb 2023 * TRADE PAPERBACK * £15.99 * 9781804540909

The debut novel by Tom Mead, a locked room mystery featuring Joseph Spector, a magician-turned-sleuth solving mysteries in 1930s London.

Fiction / FFH (Crime Fiction)
Extent: 288 pages  Format: 229 x 148 mm
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Death and the Conjurorby Tom Mead

An enthralling locked-room murder mystery inspired by crime fiction of the Golden Age, Death and the Conjuror is the debut novel by acclaimed short-story writer Tom Mead.

Selected as one of Publishers Weekly's Mysteries of the Year 2022.

1936, London. A celebrity psychiatrist is discovered dead in his locked study. There seems to be no way a killer could have escaped unseen. There are no clues, no witnesses, and no evidence of the murder weapon. Stumped by the confounding scene, Inspector Flint, the Scotland Yard detective on the case, calls on retired stage magician turned part-time sleuth Joseph Spector.

Spector has a knack for explaining the inexplicable, but even he finds that there is more to this mystery than meets the eye. As he and the Inspector interview the colourful cast of suspects, they uncover no shortage of dark secrets... or motives for murder. And when a second murder occurs, this time in an impenetrable elevator, they realize the crime wave will become even more deadly unless they can catch the culprit soon.

Reviews for Death and the Conjuror:

'An intricate "impossible" crime that completely fooled me.' Peter Lovesey
'A sharply drawn period piece with memorable characters.' New York Times
'Mead's debut is a novel to intrigue and delight.' John Connolly
'A delightful homage to Golden Age detective fiction with a highly entertaining impossible crime puzzle.' Martin Edwards
'A true delight for mystery lovers!' Charles Todd
'Tom Mead's debut is a sheer delight.' Maxim Jakubowski
'Mead maintains suspense throughout, creating a creepy atmosphere en route to satisfying reveals.' Publishers Weekly
'An absolute delight. Great characters, wonderful locked-room puzzles, it kept me hooked.' Jim Eldridge
'A real treat for mystery fans.' Ragnar Jónasson
'A fiendishly clever puzzle wrapped in a beautiful, dark atmospheric story.' Victoria Dowd

Tom Mead's acclaimed short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine and Lighthouse among others. Several of his pieces have also been anthologized, including 'Heatwave' in The Best Crime Stories of the Year 2021 (ed. Lee Child). He lives in Derbyshire, England. Death and the Conjuror was his debut novel. Follow Tom at tommeadauthor.com, @TomMeadAuthor and facebook.com/tommeadauthor

Debut novel by acclaimed short story writer based in Derbyshire, England.

For fans of classic crime fiction and modern homages to the Golden Age.

MARKET: Agatha Christie; Anthony Horowitz; Richard Osman; John Dickson Carr.


'Death and the Conjuror is an engrossing tale of murder and magicians, and a revealing exploration of the ever-popular locked-room mystery. Mead's debut is a novel to intrigue and delight' John Connolly

'[A] stellar debut and series launch... This homage to golden age crime fiction rivals the best of John Dickson Carr' Publishers Weekly

'With a deviously intricate locked-room plot, Death and the Conjuror unfolds as both an elegant tribute and a cunning update of the classic 'impossible crime' story. Somewhere, the great John Dickson Carr is smiling' Daniel Stashower

'An ingenious locked room mystery. This is a fiendishly clever puzzle wrapped in a beautiful, dark atmospheric story. Utterly captivating!' Victoria Dowd

'Tom Mead has created an intriguing set of puzzles on par with John Dickson Carr in Death and the Conjuror. A true delight for mystery lovers!' Charles Todd

'Both a splendid homage to the Golden age of impossible crimes and its great exponent John Dickson Carr and a witty reconstruction of the classic locked room mystery with tongue in cheek bravado and a gallery of attendant, endearing characters, Tom Mead's debut is a sheer delight' Maxim Jakubowski

'This ingenious (and fair-play) locked-room mystery should win over a new generation of readers to this delightfully devious style of classic mystery' Gigi Pandian

'A sharply drawn period piece... Locked-room mysteries shine best with memorable characters, which is one of Mead's strengths' New York Times

'This clever mystery combines a delightful homage to Golden Age detective fiction with a highly entertaining impossible crime puzzle – what more could any fan of classic crime wish for?' Martin Edwards

'An absolute delight. The Golden Age of detective fiction comes brilliantly alive. Great characters, wonderful locked-room puzzles, it kept me hooked' Jim Eldridge

'Mead faithfully replicates all the loving artifice and teasing engagement of golden-age puzzlers in this superior pastiche' Kirkus Reviews

'Mead maintains suspense throughout, creating a creepy atmosphere en route to satisfying reveals. Puzzle mystery fans will eagerly await the sequel' Publishers Weekly

'The clever and complicated plots the unknown antagonist concocts will likely keep you guessing all the way through' Crime Fiction Lover

'Fans of Golden Age historical fiction will enjoy this new spin on a traditional pairing for professional policeman and amateur sleuth... All the elements you would expect are here, and the book is pleasingly referential' Historical Novel Society

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