I thought this book would be great -- how could you go wrong with a mystery featuring Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle at a house party? You could go very wrong, as it turns out.
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.