THE HARRY HOUDINI MYSTERIES: THE DIME MUSEUM MURDERS by Daniel Stashower

Publication date: Feb 7, 2012
Titan Books

THE HARRY HOUDINI MYSTERIES: THE DIME MUSEUM MURDERS tells the tale of the murder of a millionaire in turn of the century New York City. When the suspected murder weapon is an automaton created by a magician, the police call in Harry Houdini to help explain how the device works. Harry and his brother Dash embark on a journey though New York’s high society to find the real killer.
The story is told through the eyes of Dash. He helps to ground the story as the character the reader can relate to. As Harry attempts to clear the name of an old family friend, Dash is the one who says “Hold on. I don’t think that’s a good idea.” Dash is street-wise and can talk with anyone. He is the Watson to Houdini’s Sherlock.

The book starts with Houdini still working in Dime Museum shows and is not the world famous escapist, as we know him today. He and his wife are part of a ten in one freak show. Houdini is an honest, innocent man. He doesn’t drink, swear, or smoke. Houdini is a very book smart, but not very street smart. At one point he and Dash go to a gentleman’s club to interview a person of interest. Houdini doesn’t understand the purpose of the club until Dash has to explain it to him. His magician’s mind is constantly working. Everyone he talks to is a potential suspect and he works tirelessly to find the real killer.

Daniel Stashower’s storytelling keeps the book moving. In many mysteries there comes one point where the killer’s hand is tipped and you’re just waiting for the main character to figure out how the murder happened. That was not the case in this book. Suspicion surrounds many of the characters, and the big reveal is exciting and unexpected.I’m looking forward to reading more about the adventures of the Famous Houdini Brothers.