Renowned illusionist Sigmund Neuberger, known by his nom de théâtre ‘The Great Lafayette’, takes to the stage of the Empire Theatre. Known for his spectacular magical illusions, Neuberger has been touring across Europe with his troupe of fellow magicians and a lion in tow. Little does he know, the curtains are soon to rise and fall on his final spectacle.
Whilst in the middle of a performance, a deadly inferno engulfs the stage. A mysteriously locked door bars the escape route, and the blaze brings down the great theatre to ash and rubble. The tragedy claims the lives of several members of the troupe – including The Great Lafayette himself.
In the ensuing chaos, the circumstances of the fire remain unknown, as does the whereabouts of Neuberger’s corpse. Holmes and Watson are called upon to help untangle the web mystery shrouding the event. But how can the truth come to light, when everyone who worked for Neuberger has sworn a vow of secrecy and dares not divulge any details?
Their journey of discovery takes Holmes and Watson across the depth and breadth of Great Britain, into the bowels of the theatre, where a gruesome discovery is revealed – along with something that Neuberger has left behind …
‘A treat for any fan of the master detective.’ – Tom Kasey, best-selling author of ‘Cold Kill’.
Val Andrews (15 February 1926 – 12 December 2006) was a music hall artist, ventriloquist and writer. Andrews was a prolific writer on magic, having published over 1000 books and booklets from 1952. He also authored Sherlock Holmes pastiches and Houdini’s novels.