Friday, June 6, 2014

"A Well-paced Story That's Loaded with Action, Suspense, a Great Puzzle, and a Lot of Humor"

Stage "magic" (illusions, really) and detective fiction seem made for each other, so it's surprising there haven't been more stories utilizing that theme.

Earlier this year we highlighted The Dime Museum Murders (1999) by Daniel Stashower, who produced several more books about "magician"-detectives.

Here are some brief excerpts from Barry Ergang's reviews of three more Stashower novels, two of them featuring Harry Houdini and his smarter brother Dash; just follow the links.

~ Elephants in the Distance (1989):
. . . Elephants in the Distance [is] a brisk, fairly-clued mystery, [and] should appeal to readers who enjoy the Great Merlini mysteries of Clayton Rawson. Although his plot is less complex than those in Rawson's novels, Stashower's sense of pace is better, his style leavened with dry wit, his hero more believable than Merlini because he's more fallible. — Barry Ergang, GAD Wiki
~ The Floating Lady Murder (2000):
. . . Stashower does an excellent job of bringing the era to life while serving up a well-paced story that's loaded with action, suspense, a great puzzle, and a lot of humor. Dash Hardeen is not a vacuous Watson who marvels at his brother's brilliance. He, in fact, is the brainier of the two. Harry provides the brawn, as well as unchecked egotism that spawns some wonderful comic moments. — Barry Ergang, GAD Wiki
~ The Houdini Specter (2001):
. . . Daniel Stashower is to be commended. Harry Houdini is not portrayed as the infallable, dignified detective. His brother Dash is not portrayed as the idolatrous but otherwise inept Watson. (In fact, in this book, at least, Dash does more to arrive at a solution—and a somewhat startling one at that, given its motivation—than does Harry.) — Barry Ergang, GAD Wiki
- The short-lived TV series Blacke's Magic (1986; only 13 episodes) did combine "magicians" with mysteries; see the IMDb entry HERE.
- An episode of Columbo (1976) had a murderous "magician"; see HERE.

Category: Detective fiction

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