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Publisher's Summary

Irish immigrant and private detective Molly Murphy is thrilled to have a ticket to see world-famous illusionist Harry Houdini. But before he can even take the stage, the opening act goes horribly wrong—and the sensational Signor Scarpelli’s lovely assistant is sawed in half. In the aftermath, Scarpelli accuses Houdini of tampering with his equipment. Who else but the so-called Handcuff King could have got a hold of his trunk of tricks, which he keeps under lock and key?

And it seems the maestro Scarpelli’s not the only one critical of Houdini. Now that he’s raised the stakes to such a perilous level, lesser acts are being put out of business. With everyone on edge, Houdini’s wife hires Molly to watch his back. But how can she protect a man who literally risks his life every night? Now it’s up to Molly to keep an eye on Houdini and find out whether these masters of illusion are simply up to their tricks—or if there truly is something much more treacherous going on…

©2010 Rhys Bowen (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Elkay
  • 12-04-2014

Stop Taxing Your Delicate Ladybrain

I've mostly enjoyed this series - there is definitely a formula at work here, but it results in a good, light story with attention to historical detail. However: I flat-out HATE Daniel Sullivan, the main character's love interest, and I'm quickly losing respect for Molly as she seems to be oblivious to his unrelenting sexism. Also, Daniel and Molly keep having this conversation:

Molly: I need you to use your police skills to find out X.
Daniel: I will not, because I disapprove of your pursuit of your career, and also I think you are a hysterical female and no crime has actually occurred, you just think there is one because you are so fantasy-prone.
Molly: But (however many) people have died, and someone tried to kill me!
Daniel: Then your work is too dangerous and I forbid you to pursue it. Also, you're just imagining things.
Molly: I've also been receiving threatening letters/been poisoned/been locked in a trunk and thrown in the river, etc.
Daniel: Your delicate ladybrain is just overwrought (pats hand patronizingly). When we are married, you will not have to think anymore, you will just do what I say. Won't that be easier? Also, stop pursuing this dangerous career, which is full of terrible danger, even though you have imagined all this danger.

Adding to his terribleness, Daniel hates Molly's friends and actively works to keep her away from them, is embarrassed by her whenever he is with any of his friends or colleagues, and frequently mentions how once they are married, she will be too busy doing laundry and raising babies to do anything outside the home, in a "joking-not joking" kind of way. At the beginning of the series, there was some nice romantic tension between these two, but at this point I think the best thing that could happen would be for Daniel to die and for Molly to run off with Sid and Gus to start some sort of lesbian commune for artists and detectives.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • PNW
  • 31-10-2014

Too Much 'Lucy You've Got Some 'Splainin' to Do'

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Interesting historical fiction and interlacing of fictional characters and historical figures such as Houdini. The heroine's 'young man' is an insufferable chauvinist who becomes increasingly annoying as the series progresses. He is a distraction and inconsistent with the independence and self actualization of the heroine. The neighbors across the street are much more interesting and a good vehicle for introducing new characters and settings to the series.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Last Illusion?

Interactions of the heroine and several White House officials.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Inability to voice multiple male characters. Inconsistent voicing of heroine, who sounds like a little Irish girl, a Brit, and a recent Irish immigrant. I'd prefer she voice and Irish woman and stick with that.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No, primarily because I've already listened to the story.

Any additional comments?

Rhys Bowen's Royal Spyness series is much superior to this one. The characters are reliably consistent.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • KellyEliza
  • 28-01-2015

Twists and Turns!!!

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

This book was very interesting! You think one thing of a character and it turns out that was wrong. You think something has happened to a character and turns out that was wrong too.

What does Nicola Barber bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narrator is very good. Does voices for each character so you know who is who simply by the voice. I like her, very good.

Any additional comments?

This book has many twists. Don't think you got it all figured out before its over!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Simone
  • 26-08-2014

As reliably entertaining as always!

I love this series, obviously since I am up to Book 9!

I understand that a huge part of the subplot in the series is the relationship between Molly and Daniel, and I get that if they got married in Book 2 it would have been too soon, but I am getting tired of the “my wife won’t work” part of Daniel’s character so I am looking forward to getting that all resolved.

Time to move on! Keep working, get hitched and have those babies already!! There’ll be lots of good stories to tell around that and I am looking forward to them all!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Gayle Maurer
  • 14-04-2018

Great Story and Great Reader Performance

Where does The Last Illusion rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best. I have listened to the whole series up to this point and intend to listen to the rest. I will be so bummed when I listen to the last one because they are so entertaining. It has just the right mix of characters and action to keep me interested. Molly is a feisty, intelligent detective. There is also just enough romance to be interesting, but not to be considered a romance novel..

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Rhys Bowen's Molly Murphy books are all very good and keep me riveted to find out what is going to happen next. Molly gets herself into some very interesting situations.

Which character – as performed by Nicola Barber – was your favorite?

My favorite is the heroin of the story, Molly Murphy.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I would have liked to hear it all in one sitting, but the story is too long for that. I am happy to listen a few chapters at a time.

Any additional comments?

Nicola Barber is a great reader/performer. She does so well with all the different accents (there are quite a few in the Molly Murphy series). She also does very well with the male voices. I have heard some readers sound kind of silly doing male voices.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Michiko
  • 22-06-2017

Love it

Continue to love this series. Characters are great and I love the narrater looking forward to the next installment.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • MrsAllister
  • 08-01-2016

good story

it was a good story. the one thing i disliked was the stories are getting more difficult to kind of figure out with Molly what's going on. yes, she's still an amateur, but it sometimes seems that she's still sloppy and going on wild goose chases unnecessarily. still love the series though!! good writing without profanity and foolishness.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jennifer Smith
  • 13-10-2015

Totally addictive

The whole series to date has been riveting. Each character carefully crafted and evolving. Each story unpredictable and unexpected in its resolution. The social issues of the era are explored with subtle and poignant skill that never detracts from the excitement of the story, but adds to the texture of each moment. Molly and Daniel are a true but never cliched romance. The narrator must never be changed! She is absolutely perfect. Well worth every penny and every minute spent listening.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • lisee22
  • 02-10-2015

A fun history of Houdini

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes, it was interesting. I learned things about Houdini and the way magicians at the time operated.

Would you recommend The Last Illusion to your friends? Why or why not?

Yes. It is a good story.

What does Nicola Barber bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She uses great accents that really bring the book to life.

Could you see The Last Illusion being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

I would love any book in Rhys Bowen's series to be made into a movie or tv show. I love this series. I could see Eleanor Tomlinson playing Molly.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • NYL Ski Lady
  • 18-06-2015

Interesting historical fiction mystery

Fun and entertaining. I enjoy learning about the time period and actual characters who lived then. I fun way to learn some history. While still being entertained.