Escapade Paperback – Apr 29 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Set in the 1920s, Satterthwait's novel mixes spiritualism with a locked-room murder mystery in a tale featuring Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
The writing is sometimes painfully amateurish. Characters are caricatures, and each time they appear, the same characteristics are mentioned, in the same words. This gets really annoying.
The main character is Houdini's right hand man, Phil, whose high opinion of himself is completely unwarranted. He is a condescending, arrogant twit. Other characters are too thinly depicted -- they only consist of a couple of qualities, mostly superficial physical traits, such as weight and hair color.
Once you've endured thousands of sentences containing prose flatter than Kansas, you arrive at the solution. Unfortunately, the solution to the murder is not possible. This is a wee bit of a problem for a mystery. Without giving away too much, if you know anything about ballistics, you will know the author doesn't. His "solution" reveals his ignorance and lack of research, and will frustrate any reader who knows more than he does about guns. It wouldn't have been that difficult or time-consuming to uncover facts such as -- silencers don't silence. They muffle some of a gunshot's sound, but hardly render it silent.
And after reading ESCAPADE'S attempts at wit, you'll just wish someone would silence Phil. For a really witty book, try one by Robert Crais or karen Kijewski. For a good, clever historical, try Bruce Alexander's series. I recommend skipping ESCAPADE.
Cast (in order of appearance, disappearance or what-you-like): Houdini, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a communist lord, an American detective, a psychopath, a charming lady, a medium and a pervert ghost!
Other relevant information: Prix du Roman d'Aventures 1996 (in France)
A very unusual story in a traditional Golden Age setting. Strange things are happening: will Chin Soo manage to kill Houdini or will Houdini make Chin Soo vanish? will Sherlock Holmes come to the rescue of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (who may not be quite as good a detective as his hero)? will the communists take over the House of Lords? (maybe the novel isn't quite about British politics but who knows...)
A very funny novel, probably one of Satterthwait's very best. I bet that if you try it, you'll LOVE it
Most recent customer reviews
Once started, the reader can hardly pause in finishing this action packed and well crafted mystery. The hero, Phil Beaumont, is a Pinkerton Operative assigned to bodyguard Harry... Read morePublished on July 9 2004 by Allen P. Bristow
This book is a total original. Laugh out loud funny. A fresh mystery. With characters we thought we knew before. I read it twice! Simply great.Published on Nov. 15 2002 by montymom
Satterhwait's sardonic descriptions and droll characterizations made me roll with laughter and kept me awake far past my bedtime for a school night. Read morePublished on March 23 1999