Peter Lovesey - Abracadaver

A Sergeant Cribb mystery

After wobbling and boxing, the music hall suggested itself as another Victorian entertainment to use as a background. Dangerous and humiliating accidents are happening in the halls and the police investigate. Sergeant Cribb and Constable Thackeray sense a sinister presence behind the incidents just as the action turns to murder. The music hall scenes are based on the real late-Victorian halls, rather different from modern perceptions.

UK Publisher: Macmillan, 1972
UK Paperback: Panther, 1974
US Publisher: Dodd, Mead, 1972
US paperback: Dell, 1974
Latest UK Paperback: Mysterious Press, 1988
Reissued in the US in June, 2009, by Soho Press

“Music hall’s heyday lovingly recalled as Sergeant Cribb and Constable Thackeray cope with limelit poisoning and Victorian permissiveness … thoroughly entertaining.”
Matthew Coady, The Guardian

“Sinister fun in splendidly atmospheric setting.”
Francis Goff, Sunday Telegraph

It’s a tangled business, both evil and intricate. Every police move seems frustrated by almost superhuman cunning until Cribb’s trap nails the murderer and ends a hunt as spectacular as it has been fairly marked with clues. Very much Grade A.”
John Dickson Carr, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine

“Dangerous, humiliating practical jokes are played on various music-hall artists: there is a nice murder to be found with a nice unexpected murderer at the denouement.”
Edmund Crispin, Sunday Times

For a delightful, offbeat offering in the mystery field try Peter Lovesey’s
Jean M White, San Francisco Examiner

“Lovesey has a special flair for re-creating Victorian England with to-the-manner-born wit. I love Lovesey.”
Saturday Review