Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"The World Becomes a Wonderland — It's Magic"

By Daniel Stashower.
1999. 256 pages.
Available on Kindle.
Houdini the sleuth hound. Review excerpts:
A locked room murder with Harry Houdini as an amateur detective? Well, sign me up for that one. — William I. Lengeman III, TRADITIONAL MYSTERIES (December 11, 2011)
The story itself is a well plotted and intelligent yarn, structured like an old fashioned serial with its myriad cliffhangers and revelations that take our heroes from the splendor of Fifth Avenue to the squalor of skid row and all points in between, keeping the reader eager to keep turning the pages as Harry and Dash unravel the mystery of the Dime Museum Murders. On the strength of this first offering, an easy and pleasant read that was just long enough to deliver a satisfying complex tale without outstaying its welcome . . . — Richard Cosgrove, SHADOWLOCKED (26 March 2012)
Daniel Stashower’s storytelling keeps the book moving. In many mysteries there comes one point where the killer’s hand is tipped and you’re just waiting for the main character to figure out how the murder happened. That was not the case in this book. Suspicion surrounds many of the characters, and the big reveal is exciting and unexpected. — Kate Malmon, CRIMESPREE (February 25, 2012)
There have been many attempts to place famous people in the role of detective, ranging from Jane Austen to Dorothy Parker, with varying amounts of success. This book, the first in a series of highly entertaining mysteries, features Harry Houdini as the detective—and it succeeds. — Kathleen Hennrikus, NEW YORK JOURNAL OF BOOKS
The ensuing tale offers great fun in the form of suavely executed melodrama. Stashower writes with a sure hand and with plenty of wit. He errs, though, in gliding too easily in the ruts inscribed by his genre models (the turn-of-the-century thriller, the boys’-adventure yarn). The book also suffers from the signal weakness of most novels that feature actual historical figures . . . — Mike, ONLY DETECT (November 29, 2012)
The locked room solution is disappointing – I would use another word, but that would spoil things. More of a disappointment, though, is the motive which, while sort of hinted at, does seem to come out of nowhere and is rather unbelievable. — Puzzle Doctor, IN SEARCH OF THE CLASSIC MYSTERY NOVEL (August 30, 2012)

Category: Detective fiction

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