Now You See It
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The prolific master of suspense and screenwriting (I Am Legend; The Incredible Shrinking Man) here comes up with a knockout tale the like of whose twists and final turns have not been seen since Henri Clouzot's devilish film thriller Diabolique. That it also seems a blueprint for a Broadway play along the lines of Sleuth, with characters quietly doubling in roles on a limited set, is just one more hurdle Matheson offers the reader, as if performing a sonnet in terza rima. Some years ago, the Great Delacorte, a famed stage magician, came down with a stroke that left him a "vegetable," able to move only his eyes. The entire novel takes place through those eyes as Delacorte sits in the Magic Room of his country estate, a room custom-tailored to display stage illusions. Delacorte's son, Max, has taken his name and place as an illusionist. Max is supported on stage by his wife, Cassandra, and her amazingly identical lookalike younger brother, Brian, but for the past year Cassandra has been poisoning Max's food with arsenic and sleeping with his agent. She wants the act for herself-yet Max has his own ideas, and his revenge is the big dish that Matheson sets before us in this dazzler that offers top-flight fun as well as a welcome return to form for its author.