TITLE: The Magician's Daughter
GENRE: Adult - Historical Mystery
Not many women are magicians in 1870s Europe, but that doesn’t stop Valentina, until her father, the greatest magician in all of Europe, is murdered onstage. Valentina abandons her dreams in order to find his killer and soon becomes entangled in an underground society of performers who are more than they seem, and might be the death of her too.
The custard of the small fruit tart jiggled with the rumbling of the train. I was hypnotized by its slight vibration, if only to distract myself from what I soon faced. The tranquility of my private carriage lulled me into a moment of calm. I lit the small candle poking from the tart’s middle and closed my eyes.
“Happy birthday, Mama.” The flame extinguished before I could blow it out. I didn’t have to turn around to know he stood in the doorway, though he made no sound. Sterling Caindale was, after all, the greatest magician in Europe.
“Are you prepared for tomorrow?” His English accent sounded like home.
“I’ve practiced the acts so many times I could perform them with my eyes closed.”
“Good girl.” He smiled, his wrinkles deepened and that familiar inkling of sadness flashed in his eyes.
“I’ve a gift for you,” he said, producing a small red flower between his fingers. The instant my fingertips brushed against its stem, the flower disappeared, and in its place, hung a gold necklace with a simple red pendant.
“It’s beautiful. Thank you, Father.” His eyes twinkled with appreciation.
I knew nothing of my real father. Mama died when I was six, and took with her that bit of information. Sterling Caindale was the only father I ever knew. As a child, I rarely left his side. When the Great Sterling Caindale came to town with his show, you could be sure his apprentice, Valentina Gianetti, would be in tow.