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Harry Houdini Mysteries: The Dime Museum Murders Paperback – Feb 7 2012

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books; Reprint edition (Feb. 7 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857682849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857682840
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.7 x 20.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 45 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,248,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"A well plotted and intelligent yarn, structured like an old fashioned serial with its myriad cliffhangers and revelations." - Shadowlocked

"Enough intrigue, banter and action to keep you reading and due to some very thorough research, give you a realistic look at New York in this time period, an insight into Houdini’s home-life and early career." - Bad Haven

"Great mysteries." - 8 Days A Geek

About the Author

Daniel Stashower is a novelist and magician. His works include: the Edgar Award-winning Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan DoyleElephants in the DistanceThe Beautiful Cigar GirlThe Ghosts of Baker Street, and the Sherlock Holmes novel, The Seventh Bullet

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9defb540) out of 5 stars 14 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9daf1258) out of 5 stars Harry Houdini mysteries totally lacking in Houdini. Oct. 4 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
OK mystery but it has nothing to do with Houdini. The author apparently got all his info on Houdini from the back of a cereal box. I knew it was fiction and would take some liberties with the truth but he got almost everything wrong. It's really the Hardeen mysteries. Harry Houdini is a delusional clown sidekick. I think Stashower renamed his detective and stuck Houdini in to make the book sale able.
Harry trained his younger brother Dash to be a magician, almost 10 years after the story is set. I could live with that but instead of working as a magician, Hardeen/ Dash is hanging around Harry as sort of a manager. At the same time, the author makes it very clear that Harry and his wife couldn't possibly afford to hire any one, they're barely surviving even though they're living at his mother's apartment. Hardeen somehow can afford his own place.
It starts with a tedious prologue with an 84 year Dash preparing in his boardinghouse room to talk to reporters on the anniversary of Houdini's death. The story is his reminisce. By the time Dash was 84 he had been dead for 15 years. He was a successful magician with a house and a wife. He took a break for some routine surgery that went wrong and he died. Its so unnecessary, he could extend Dash's life just one year and have it be the 20th anniversary of Houdini's death.
This one way it shows that the book was originally conceived and at least partly written with a detective of the author's own creation. He just renamed him Hardeen and did a hatchet job on Harry. Houdini is shown as a delusional egomaniac with no sense. At first he thinks he's Sherlock Holmes and keeps quoting him. He constantly makes grand announcements that he knows who did it but of course is wrong.
There are a few Houdini type stunts stuck in the story that don't fit the caricature described by Stashower and although describing the brothers as tough guys who grew up on the streets (basically true) Harry is often naive and lacks common sense.
Hardeen is too dull to carry the story.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9daf18d0) out of 5 stars Simple yet intriguing April 5 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author is skilled at grabbing my interest and holding me - I didn't want to stop reading. I have mentioned in a previous review of this author that he does a balanced job of weaving in the ways of magic and the world of magicians - yet I never felt as though I was being educated. The plot is unique and well developed. Descriptions of the time period done well so the reader can see in the mind's eye what the fashions looked like, how the streets sounded, the food smelled, etc. The author also does an excellent job of including factual history (that of Harry Houdini) into the fiction. Once again, a light read, but well done.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9daf16cc) out of 5 stars awesome book June 22 2013
By K. A. Haste - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
Once the reader is past the confusing first chapter which should be the prologue, not part of the actual story, the book takes off as a compelling read. The plot line is sufficiently convoluted to keep the reader turning the page. Characters are well rounded and engaging with an ample dose of historical realism. I look forward to the other books in the series.
HASH(0x9dabde10) out of 5 stars A Fun Read for Magic and Mystery Fans Alike! Nov. 28 2015
By M. Secaur - Published on
Format: Paperback
I want to begin by saying that I am not the kind of person who usually reads books like this. While I appreciate both the mystery and non-fiction genres, I believe that each has their proper places and that there is nothing worse than when the two are combined under one cover. The result is usually an anachronistic mess more distracting than it is engaging, akin to the compulsion many contemporary non-fiction writers have of inserting invented dialogue in an effort to 'liven things up:' It might make a nice novelty, but it comes off as a gross insult to the real people involved while sabotaging the credibility of the author themselves. I also find modern-day mystery novels, even those set in a time other than present-day, to be very boring reads. Yet the concept of taking the real-life figures of Harry Houdini and his brother Theo/Dash solving mysteries in 1890’s New York sounded like such a fun idea, I broke down and read “The Dime Museum Murders.” And I actually enjoyed it!

Author Daniel Stashower’s pedigree as both a historian and magician gives him an advantage over most novelists who attempt a period piece, and particularly one about Houdini. While there are a few moments here and there where he plays a bit fast and loose with his facts, such as stating in the frame-story that Theo is 84 in 1954, a chronological impossibility in view of the fact that the real Theo died in 1945 at age 69, or referring to him as “Hardeen,” a title that was not conferred to him by Houdini until 1901, etc., overall, his knowledge and understanding of life in that era is well expressed. He does a fabulous job capturing the feeling of turn-of-the-century America with his colorful descriptions, vibrant characters, and, what impressed me most of all, his period-appropriate dialogue, a welcome change from the usual anachronistic use of 21st century slang.

As Stashower’s other books have shown, he is clearly an admirer of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and in “The Dime Museum Murders” this admiration comes to full flower. The plotting and pacing are reminiscent of the latter’s work, cozy and old-fashioned (in a good way) with humor and derring-do outnumbering the grim and gory. Even between the respective detecting teams there are obvious similarities, even down to the first-person reminisce by Theo/Dr. Watson in the frame story. While I don’t totally agree with his portrayal of Harry as a brash, smarty-pants 100% uber-egomaniac, an attribute I think takes away some of the dimensionality of his character, it nevertheless helps to further the Harry/Sherlock angle and makes him a great foil for the slower but more thoughtful Theo. Regardless, I praise Stashower for making his characters well-drawn from the outset, with distinct voices and enough quirks and foibles to make them worth following into the story, something that isn't often found in mystery novels, where the plot takes precedence over the people involved.

Having read all three entries in the series, I have to say this one is probably my favorite, though they're all a little different but complement each other well. Great literature they're not, but if you're looking for an entertaining murder-mystery with engaging characters to occupy a few hour's time, "The Dime Museum Murders" is a great choice. I also recommend Stashower's "Sherlock Holmes: The Ectoplasmic Man" which features an older, more mature Houdini and more of his wife Bess, solving mysteries alongside the great detective himself.
HASH(0x9dabd7e0) out of 5 stars The Automaton Mystery! Dec 17 2013
By prairie woman - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is the first in the series of the Harry Houdini mysteries. Harry has been called to the home of a famous toy collector to discover that the man is dead and that he has acquired a toy from a very rare collection of automatons, which were mechanical dolls of a sort---kind of a forerunner of robots. Harry seems to be the only one of the group present including the inspector who knows how this object operates.There is a suspicion that this toy caused the untimely death. Harry and Dash soon concur that this object did not commit the murder and soon both brothers are on the case whether the police want them or not. A few more murders happen and it's soon apparent that there is more than one person involved and Harry and Dash are soon exploring the criminal underworld of New York City.

Daniel Stashower does a good job bringing Harry Houdini to life and obviously has done a lot of research about him--his arrogance mainly as he is determined to advertise himself as the Great Houdini even though his early magical abilities are not quite perfected. He is now struggling in a dime museum which is just that---patrons pay a dime to see many attractions like an armless lady and other sites. Harry and Dash rely on other jobs to keep them going. There is the usual lock picking, being suspended in the air, and Harry's ability to spot tricksters. Dash of the two displays logic while Harry is quick to jump to conclusions. They make quite a pair, and the ending of this mystery is quite a surprise!