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Elephants in the Distance [Hardcover]

Daniel Stashower


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co; First Edition edition (March 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688071953
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688071950
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This neat, oddly oblique puzzle will please mystery fans and delight magic devotees. Paul Galliard, Ph.D. candidate in Civil War history and a part-time magician, earns a living acting in TV commercials. Thirty years ago, his headliner father Thomas died on a live TV magic show doing the "bullet-catch" stunt. Now, Paul's old mentor Josef Schneider has a fatal heart attack while performing at a children's party. When Paul suffers a mysterious seizure after inflating some balloons from Schneider's prop case, he has them tested and finds they've been doped. An odd fire in Paul's apartment destroys the evidence, another old friend of Paul's father dies in a freak accident at a TV rehearsal and Paul realizes someone's out to get the survivors of a WW II troupe of magician-spies. There's a third murder before Paul unlocks the puzzle during a TV special in which he re-creates the bullet catch. He also uncovers a 30-year-old mystery and this time the stunt really is death defying. This is great, light-handed fun from Edgar nominee Stashower ( The Adventure of the Ectoplasmic Man ). Literary Guild alternate.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Book Description

Paul Galliard is a magician by training and heredity: his father died performing the Bullet Catch, an infamous trick that over the centuries has claimed the lives of more than a dozen magicians. A pragmatist, Paul confines his conjuring to commercials; he shows up often on TV screens, demonstrating the magical power of some brand of household cleanser. Then he gets a call. A producer wants to do a show highlighting his father's old cronies, those grizzled vets of the glory days of TV magic-acts. Paul would like to give them a last shot at the limelight, but there's a catch?a Bullet Catch, to be precise. Either Paul does the trick that killed his father, or the show doesn't go on. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magic and Mystery a great combo Aug. 25 2008
By NKBH - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this book in one day - what fun! It provides a combination of Magic and Mystery that is fun and exciting. I have recently found the publishers of Felony & Mayhem and I am finding their books to be a rare jewels. Elephants in the Distance takes place over a short period of time as bodies fall and secrets are revealed. The book's cover is a little deceiving since the book takes place in a fairly modern setting (1960s - 1970s)and is not a cozy 1920 mystery as the cover may lead you to expect, but it is a wonderful journey.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Literary magic! Sept. 7 2009
By Patto - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
ELEPHANTS IN THE DISTANCE may not be the most scintillating title, but don't be put off. The book itself is a great find.

Paul Galliard is a young magician who makes spot removal commercials, as well as performing traditional magic. He used to be an academic doing graduate work on an obscure Civil War general, but the call of magic prevailed.

His father, Thomas Galliard, was a famous magician who died spectacularly on TV, during a dangerous trick called The Bullet Catch.

A producer is pressuring Paul to recreate his father's act (more successfully) for a TV special celebrating the popular 50's magic show where Thomas Galliard got his start - and met his end. Will Paul do it? This adds a nice bit of tension to the plot.

Meanwhile, his father's old magician associates are being murdered one by one, in ways that look natural or accidental. Paul, under threat himself, attempts to figure out what's going on.

This delightful book has it all - ingenious crimes, dry humor, plodding police, a charming romance with lots of witty banter, an inside look at magic (the author was a working magician) - and multiple surprises in the last few pages.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever, clever, clever April 5 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Refreshing to read a book without any explicit sex and violence and yet find it interesting. I enjoyed the author's ability to write about the world of magic. It was informative yet not inappropriately so. That was something entirely new. This was a light read, but well worth the time
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Story. March 28 2014
By Donegal - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Excellent book. Great characters and detail. Fun story. Easy read. Fun for any magician or anyone interested in a well crafted mystery.
3.0 out of 5 stars How can you like this hero? He's just so caustic. Nov. 20 2012
By David Wilkin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A good mystery has to have enough details in it so that as everything unfolds you help solve the crime as does the sleuth. There are clues along the way, but then there are Sherlockian leaps, that the internal voice of our hero never dwells on.

Sherlock Holmes might get away with this. Conan Doyle was a very good writer that created this genre and made it his own. Stashower has a lot he adds that is good, but he has a sarcastic voice in his dialogue that even a Raymond Chandler detective might find hard to stomach.

That was the crux. I wanted to know more about the magic, but the hero was just unlikeable. I didn't care whether he was actually killed by the stunt he was recreating or not. He had a poor way of showing his affection to the women in his life, and then when questioned why he was linked to so many deaths, again with the attitude.

If I was the police I probably would have thrown him in jail for littering since he was being anything but helpful in their investigations. The end, as well, where we know what is going on, but the rest of the world seems a little oblivious too, makes you want to say that it really wasn't worth all the bother. A Magician based sleuth is something that would be rather special, but this was not one you want to follow.

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