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Peter Lovesey
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Abracadaver (Sergeant Cribb #3)

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  134 ratings  ·  12 reviews

A sadistic practical joker is haunting the popular music halls of London, interfering with the actors and interrupting their acts by orchestrating humiliating disasters that take place in view of the audience. A trapeze artist misses her timing when the trapeze ropes are shortened. A comedian who invites the audience to sing along with him finds the words of his song “sham

Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 1st 1989 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1972)
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At first I felt the same as Thackeray: Where's the body? I do remember reading this yonks ago, probably during my first incarnation as library worker in the 70s. Why is Sgt. Cribb investigating music hall mishaps? As usual, when reading in this series, you get the impression you're learning a lot about the period, in this case, the peculiarities of the English Music Hall. I had noted from past BBC watchings that there seems to be what we would call an Emcee, someone to direct the audience on wha ...more
Puzzle Doctor
I wanted to like it more than I did, but it takes an age to get going and the remainder isn't that interesting. There are better books in this series. Full review at
A clever play on word is the title for this third book in the Sergeant Gribb series by Peter Lovesey. Partnered again with Constable Thackeray from the Yard, this time the crime to investigate is a series of mishaps occurring on stage in Victorian London music halls;
mishaps of a kind that could ruin a performer's career.

After a second mishap occurs when a trained dog in an act is replaced with one prone to biting, Gribbs and Thackeray are called in. A sadistic practical joker is haunting the po
Suspense Magazine
It’s the late 19th century in London as the events of “Abracadaver” begin to unfold. We open on two sisters’ argument over who’s to blame for a trapeze act gone wrong, only to find their act had been sabotaged through no fault of either sister. It is soon discovered that this is not the only act of the old music halls that has succumbed to sabotage, there seems to be a dark practical joker on the loose, and his theatrics seem to know no bounds. After one of the joker’s antics proves fatal, Serge ...more
Sergeant Cribb and his trusty sidekick Thackeray unravel a music hall mystery that keeps the reader guessing until the final few pages. Colourful imagery of the Victorian Music Hall with the "undressing rooms of shameless beauties" regularly visited by the duo as they attempt to find who is trying to disrupt the entertainment provided to the masses.
Adelaide Blair
Like all of Lovesey's Cribb and Thackeray novels, this book is pure fun. This time around, our Scotland Yard detectives are after a prankster who is targeting performers in 19th century music halls. Will they find their man? And will the pranks escalate to MURDER?
Deana David Lissenberg
It's hard to go wrong with Peter Lovesey. He is so consistently good. This is a Sergeant Crib-- very Victorian, very atmospheric.
Entertaining Victorian police detective novel involving mysterious, career-ending injuries at popular London music halls.
A fun Victorian mystery, set in the music halls. I plan to read more of the Cribb series.
Another pleasurable installment of Lovesey's Sargeant Cribb series.
Sgt. Cribb, pleasant read
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Peter (Harmer) Lovesey (born 1936 in Whitton, Middlesex) is a British writer of historical and contemporary crime novels and short stories. His best-known series characters are Sergeant Cribb, a Victorian-era police detective based in London, and Peter Diamond, a modern-day police detective in Bath. Lovesey's novels and stories mainly fall into the category of entertaining puzzlers in the "Golden ...more
More about Peter Lovesey...

Other Books in the Series

Sergeant Cribb (8 books)
  • Wobble to Death
  • The Detective Wore Silk Drawers (Sergeant Cribb, #2)
  • Mad Hatter's Holiday
  • Invitation To A Dynamite Party (Sergeant Cribb, #5)
  • A Case Of Spirits (Sergeant Cribb, #6)
  • Swing, Swing Together (Sergeant Cribb, #7)
  • Waxwork (Sergeant Cribb, #8)

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