The Zigzag Effect

Lili Wilkinson

The Zigzag Effect
Allen & Unwin
1 April 2013

The Zigzag Effect

Lili Wilkinson

Sage gave Bianca a swift hug. ‘Everything will be fine,’ she said. ‘You’ll see.’ They smiled at each other, but Sage felt uneasiness creep into the pit of her belly. Something was very, very wrong at the Lyric Theatre.

Sage is delighted to land a holiday job at a theatre. Mostly because it will earn her the money she needs for the photography course she’s coveted since she first picked up a camera. And working for a magician should be interesting, right? Plus there’s a cute stagehand named Herb, who could make it even more interesting.

But Sage, Herb and The Great Armand’s beautiful assistant Bianca stay late at the theatre one night, and a wand gets broken.on the stage. Bianca is horrified, convinced they’ve brought a curse upon themselves. Sage and Herb dismiss her concerns as irrational superstitions - even after they are mysteriously locked in the supply cupboard. Together. Overnight.

And then things really DO go wrong, at the theatre and at home. Sage must figure out who to trust, who’s hiding secrets, what’s real and what’s just clever trickery. Because when a person truly disappears, it is likely that there are more sinister elements at work than magic.


I was super excited when I was given a copy of Lili Wilkinson’s new novel, The Zigzag Effect. Having thoroughly enjoyed her past two girl detective stories, with their clever plots and flirty romances, I was keen to see what she had thought up this time.

Sage has moved from sunny Queensland to wintery Melbourne with her family, a move made brighter due to the exciting prospect of doing a short workshop with her favourite photographer. But when her mum explains that they can’t afford the course, Sage lands a holiday job at a theatre in the city, helping out with the magic show that resides there. All is going perfectly until a wand gets broken onstage, a sign of bad luck. Armand the Magician goes missing and Bianca, the magician’s assistant, finds a series of creepy notes on her desk. The crew begin to wonder if they have the theatre ghost on their hands.

Where has Armand gone? Who is sending Bianca those notes? Why is Jason Johns, the rival magician, hanging around all of a sudden? Is there really a ghost? Will Herb hurry up and kiss Sage already?

These are just some of the questions that arise in this clever and super fun detective novel. For ages 13 and up.

Katherine Dretzke

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