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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.

What listeners say about The Last Illusion

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • 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.

22 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • 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.

5 people found this helpful

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  • 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!

3 people found this helpful

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  • 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 person found this helpful

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  • Sofia Vazquez Saut
  • 03-10-2020

Disappointing.

The plot was boring and story is slow, this is to be one of Molly Murphy series weaker novel.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 25-05-2020

Fun mystery!

Molly's investigative skills really come together in this book. She spends less time stumbling into solving the mystery and more time actually gathering clues and figuring out what happened. She and Daniel are getting closer to an actual wedding. The secondary characters are delightful.

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  • Scotty
  • 30-04-2020

Am continuing to thoroughly enjoy this series!

This series is so we'll written, that it looks like I'll be listening to all the books in it. As I'm listening, I'm thinking how awfully difficult it was for most women to do anything independently back then. Women are still a minority today, but thank goodness for the tougher, free thinking ones back then, who took a stand and started changing that a little at a time.
Scotty
Audible addict.

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  • Mary
  • 14-08-2019

Great Mystery!

I find it hard to stop listening to her books. Couldn't ask for a more awesome author!!

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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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  • 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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  • Mrs. C. Hunt
  • 11-02-2020

The Last Illusion

This is a funny, exciting detective story where she stumbles across the clues. Read brilliantly by Nicole Barbara.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.