"Another of Crowley's benefactors?"
"As far as I know, Mr. Shufelt don't got nothing to do with Brother Perdurabo. He's only interested in his tunnels."
"Yeah, the tunnels that--"
She broke off as a police siren suddenly split the night. Red lights flashed through the rear windscreen. The chauffeur slowed the car and steered toward the side of the road. Cairo leaned forward. "I'll handle this."
A policeman ran up to the car as Cairo wound down the rear window. "Your name Cairo?" the patrolman asked.
"Follow us," the man called, already running back to his own vehicle. "There's trouble at Mr. Rosenberg's."
When they arrived at Rosenberg's house three police cars already sat in the driveway, red lights flashing. Cairo sprang out of the limousine and one of the policemen led him toward the house, with Mildred and Mrs. Lockhart following closely behind.
"There was a break-in," the policeman said. "Mr. Rosenberg aske
This story, while somewhat interesting, is unnecessarily weird. So many things are out of place and outlandish, it's difficult to list them. Primarily, the main character is an illusionist, yet he suddenly becomes an adept detective who is enlisted to solve a disappearance. The sudden existence of lizard men is taken for granted as if it were an everyday occurrence. Many, many other oddities.
Despite all this, it's a somewhat interesting story. The writing is not all that bad once you get over all the silly suppositions.
Come join our hero as he rids the world of nasty lizard men!
Early on in the story you realize it makes no pretense of being anything but a bit of pulp nonsense. Johnny Cairo is a stage magician in 1930's L.A. Mrs. Lockhart is his assistant, and the smarter of the two. A rich man hires Cairo to find his daughter, so he decides to do it before tomorrow's show.
People burst into flames, lizard men stalk the city, Cairo's old enemy Alistair Crowley hosts a debauch, tunnels honeycomb the streets, and so forth.
It seems to be a piece of camp, mimicking 30s stories, but it's from 1999.
Highly enjoyable, arch, and pulpy -- just the way I like it! Felt like it could be the start of a very entertaining series of detective stories... sort of like The Thin Man.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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