Shell Game (A Mallory Novel)
She hit the New York Times list with Bone by Bone. Now her repackaged backlist will fly off the shelves.
When a legendary magic trick goes horribly awry on national TV, detective Kathleen Mallory knows the gruesome death won't be the last. For misdirection is the heart of all magic-and perfect crimes.
“That was cold. Why not shoot that annoying woodpecker you never liked?” “I didn’t ” “Right.” If NYPD could not prove it, she did not do it—Coffey knew that old song. But this time he had witnesses. “I’ve got statements from people who saw you fire your gun.” “Damn civilians.” Riker’s pencil was moving over lines of text. “They hear a car backfire, and then they see a gun that isn’t there.” He looked up at Coffey. “And who says the balloon was shot? Another balloon went down when a tree branch
highway, and now he was fully awake and full of dread. When he stood up, his knees buckled, and there were searing pains in all his joints and muscles. He slumped against a transparent wall, pressing his forehead to the glass. When had he ever been so hungry and tired—so cold? What was he to do? The motel room was just across the parking lot. Franny’s eyes never left the door as he winced at fresh pain from an Achilles tendon. The door was a hundred miles away for one who lacked the good legs to
someone lost in the war. “Malakhai was like that in the late forties and early fifties. It was painful to watch him perform on stage. Sometimes he just stared at the audience. He’d gone blank, lost his place in the act. And then I knew he’d seen some red-haired woman sitting out there in the dark. Louisa was long gone by then, years dead, and he knew that. But he was still looking for her in every crowd. “In the next war, he found her in a North Korean prison cell, five feet square. No room to
half-empty wine bottle. “A very good year.” He refreshed the third glass by Louisa’s ashtray. “Max ran away from boarding school early in ’41. He used to be a Butler like Charles. When he followed me to Paris, he took the name Candle to hide from the Pinkerton men his parents hired. If you’re not familiar with—” “Private detectives, I know. So you met at school?” “Yes. Max’s father was in the diplomatic corps. His parents were about to take him home to the States when he ran away.” “What was
another unanswered question, one that had hampered her background check. “What is Malakhai’s first name?” Charles appeared to physically duck under this question, kneeling down to examine the center gear of the pedestal. “If he has another name, I’ve never heard it.” He held up one finger slicked with a dab of recent oil, evidence of last night’s shooting party. “Have you been—” “I searched the title on that upstate hospital. Nick Prado said Malakhai owned it.” “He does.” Charles wiped the oil