Mead's central charctor, John Spector, is the magician who helps the police unravel, this fiendishly difficult murder. As a conjuror he is perfectly placed to understand the art of illusion and distraction, and fits wonderfully well into the narrative. However, we learn little about who Spector is, and how he has come to be assisting the police, leading his presence to be essentailly the third mystery of the book.
It is the slow building of a sense of place, time and people over a series of novels that allows one the same sense of emotional investment as one would have to Ellis Peters, or Lyndsey Davis. For historical crime fans this is going to be the new must-read series.