Harry Houdini Mysteries, No 2
February 7, 2012 / 978-0857682925
Historical Mystery: 1898 New York City
by Beth E. McKenzie
The old man again entertains the journalist and photographer with
a story of the Weiss brothers, The Great Houdini and Dash Hardeen,
on the anniversary of the elder's death. Dash "remembers"
when they were both young men before Harry became an international
sensation. A major step in his success was a relationship with one
of the greatest magicians of his time, Henry Kellar. This year Dash
decides to tell the story of their first meeting with Kellar and
how they helped perfect the greatest of Kellar's illusions: The
Floating Lady. In this variation of an impossible locked-door mystery
the victim is seen on stage, floats to a height of 72.5 feet, waves
to the crowd and falls from this height, only to be discovered dead
In a previous review I called young Harry a prat. That was probably
a little unfair; after all, he became a brilliant entertainer and
entrepreneur in his own right. If he were a young man today his
intensity and demeanor would probably earn him the label of geek
or nerd. He is brilliant at what he does but totally oblivious to
most everything else-- especially social niceties. Only his wife,
Bess, or his mother can change his direction once it is established.
The Floating Lady drops some of the Sherlock Holmes shtik
found in the previous work before it drags down the series. What
we find is a more detailed look at the setup backstage for a turn-of-the-century
(the previous one) stage troupe just short of revealing it all.
Being married to an amateur magician I am fascinated to find out
that the basics behind creating an illusion are the same today as
they were over 100 years ago. Illusions work because people want
to join in the fantasy, and there will always be princesses floating
on clouds of dream.
Museum Murders, No 1