Monday, September 30, 2013

"Magic and Mystery"

Steve Steinbock (CRIMINAL BRIEF, April 4, 2008) traces the parallels between expert prestidigitators and detective fictioneers:
Both mysteries and magic employ gimmicks. But in both fields, it isn’t the gimmick that matters so much as the execution. John Dickson Carr taught us that there are only so many ways for a murder to be committed in a locked room. Lovers of impossible crime mysteries (myself included) know all these tricks. But that doesn’t take away our surprise when the author pulls it off beautifully.
. . . mystery fiction and stage magic both rely on misdirection. That's probably the key element to both arts. And where else is the job of the artist to hide things in plain sight?
A review of a magic-themed anthology, WHODUNIT? HOUDINI? THIRTEEN TALES OF MAGIC, MURDER, MYSTERY (1976), is on the GADetection Wiki, along with an essay by Mike Grost on John Dickson Carr, a true magician in this field.

Category: Detective fiction

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