Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Escape Artist by Ed Ifkovic

I received a galley of this novel from NetGalley for review. This in no way affected my opinions.

A pretty good mystery novel set in 1904 Wisconsin with real-life character Edna Ferber.

Edna is 19 years old, and working at the Crescent as a reporter. She meets many roadblocks from her family for doing so. Many people think it scandalous that a young woman is going around asking people so many questions on her own.

There's nothing much to report in Appleton, Wisconsin until a former classmate of Edna's - Frana Lempke - seems to have disappeared. While everyone thinks that she ran off with a older man, the case soon turns to murder.

Edna becomes wrapped up in the case, meeting more roadblocks from her sexist editor. However, with the help of Harry Houdini, who is in town for a short while, she becomes dangerously close to finding out who killed Frana.

I loved the characters of Edna and Houdini, who were both, of course, real live folks. The rest of the characters didn't connect with me. Most of them were annoying; none were real likable.

The flow of the story was good. We got a good sense of what Appleton was like back then and what kind of people lived there. Sometimes Edna went off on tangents about things that had nothing to do with the story, and I really didn't like how she seemed to resent girls who were prettier than her, including her own best friend.

A side note: Edgar Allan Poe's name was spelled wrong. I forgot why the name was brought up, but Allan was spelled Allen. It's a pet peeve of mine, because people often misspell his name that way. It might be fixed in the final copy, seeing as how I read from a galley, so who knows.

Overall, a satisfying read.