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Escapade [Paperback]

WALTER Satterthwait
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 29 1996
Hired to guard Harry Houdini from a rival magician's death threats, Phil Beaumont finds his hands full at a stately country home where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is among the guests and the host is found murdered. Reprint. K.

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Product Description

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.

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Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars I Wanted to Like It, But I Couldn't! Dec 6 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
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.
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By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Setting: 19th century England, in a not-so-very-tradional manor.
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
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By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I first ran into this lovely book a year ago and since then have given away 4 copies. The author takes historical fact (the real relationship of ghost buster Houdini and the gullible spiritualist Conan-Doyle) and places it into an English manor murder mystery. What makes it special are the subtle characters created by the author, and the relationship of the main characters: Houdini and his American detective/bodyguard. The fun begins with a distant rumble that gathers speed via well crafted vignettes until the reader and author reach the punch line together laughing. I especially liked the way Houdini's overbearing arrogance and self absorption are gently and kindly managed by the narrator. Read this and pass it on to friends. Oh, the who dunit part is cool, too.
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By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I first ran into this lovely book a year ago and since then have given away 4 copies. The author takes historical fact (the real relationship of ghost buster Houdini and the gullible spiritualist Conan-Doyle) and places it into an English manor murder mystery. What makes it special are the subtle characters created by the author, and the relationship of the main characters: Houdini and his American detective/bodyguard. The fun begins with a distant rumble that gathers speed via well crafted vignettes until the reader and author reach the punch line together laughing. I especially liked the way Houdini's overbearing arrogance and self absorption are gently and kindly managed by the narrator. Read this and pass it on to friends. Oh, the who dunit part is cool, too.
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