Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Harry Houdini in Mystery Fiction

It started innocuously enough. I read one mystery that featured Harry Houdini and then one thing led to another. One of those things is this article I recently wrote for Criminal Element, titled Magical Mystery Tour: Houdini’s Appearances. It's a chronicle of Houdini's many appearances in mystery fiction, though I'm sure I probably missed a few.

I never intended to make an informal survey of the many appearances of Harry Houdini in the annals of mystery fiction. It just sort of happened that way. Quite frankly, until I began investigating the matter I didn’t realize that he was a character so beloved by mystery writers—and writers in general, even celebrity authors such as William Shatner, who “co-wrote” a book in which Houdini and Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle team up to determine if there really is life after death.



  1. Very good survey! I have been hoping to read some of these books for a while, particularly NEVERMORE, which was referred to in a footnote in the original version of the Paul Halter/Roland Lacourbe interview I translated. Have you read it yourself and if so, is it a "real" mystery? The author tends to market himself more as a straight novelist and it doesn't seem to have been marketed as a mystery...

  2. I haven't read Nevermore and chances are I probably won't get around to it. Not because it doesn’t look interesting but just because there's too much else on the TBR pile right now. About the only other one on the Houdini list that I'm going to read is Escapade, by Walter Satterthwait, and that's mainly because it appears to be a country house mystery.