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" WHERE HOUDINI WAS WRONG," by Maurice Sardina (translated from the original " Les Erreurs de Harry Houdini " by Victor Farelli. Published by George Armstrong, Price 20/-).

It was about two years ago that we had the pleasure and privilege of reading in manuscript form Mr. Farelli's excellent translation of M. Sardina's book At the time we not only expressed our delight at the content matter but also at the excellent translation. On the reception of the published copy our delight was increased because such an important work had received at the hands of the publisher and printer the treatment it merited.

Dealing with the physical make-up, the book runs into a matter of some one hundred and twenty pages of well printed art paper ; there are over thirty illustrations, a number of which are half tones. The book is strongly bound in a gold lettered blue cloth cover.

All those who have read (and there can be few genuinely interested in magic who have not) the " Unmasking of Robert-Houdin " will welcome this book by a famous French author. M. Sardina in his introduction seeks not so much to defend the Master of Modern Conjuring (for as he remarks his name, higher than ever, needs no defence) but rather to put right the " unwitting " mistakes of Harry Houdini.

The book commences with a resume of Houdini's rebuff by Madame W. E. Robert-Houdin, (something that Houdini could never understand), of his dealings with Evanion and of his growing venom against

Robert-Houdin. Fiom this point we are taken through the "Unmasking" and wilder statements of Houdini, statements of opinion rather than fact, are torn apart and disproved. For his particular references the following effects (or automata) are. taken, each forming, as they did in Houdini's workN a chapter on its own : The Orange Tree Trick, The Writing and Drawing Figure, The Pastry Cook of the Palais Royal, the Cabalistic Clock, the Trapeze Automaton, the Inexhaustible Bottle, Second Sight, the Suspension Trick, and the Disappearing Handkerchief. Besides this there are two chapters " Events in the Life of Robert-Houdin " and the " Narrowness of Robert-Houdin's Memoirs ". The author shows only too well that if the evidence presented bv Houdini would not fit the bill in defaming Robert-Houdin, such evidence must be adjusted or faked to.prove that Houdini could rot be wrong.

Mr. Farelli, as translator, in his usual thorough and painstaking manner has left no stone unturned in order that the reader shall have a complete picture and so, to the book proper a supplement has been added.

No student of magic will be without this book, for it is undoubtedly one of the best contributions to the post-war magical literature. It is hoped that those who look upon magic purely as a technical accomplishment, will see fit for once to look back into the past. To all magicians everywhere we recommend this most interesting work.

SECOND COLLECTORS' ANNUAL, 1950 (published by James B. Findlay, " Firbank " Private Hotel, Crescent Road, Shanklin, Isle of Wight. Price 5/3 post free).

Unlike the first annual published in duplicated form by Mr. Findlay, the present publication is printed. It consists of twenty-four pages and is bound in a cardboard cover. It is a booklet that no magically-minded person should miss.

After the briefest of prefaces, our old friend " Ptinos " gives some '* More Magazine History " and in his excellent article deals with " The Boy Magician," " The American Magician " and the " Seven Circles." Next, under the heading of " Association Items," J.B.F. instances a most interesting bypath of magical collecting. This is fallowed by " A Chat on Ex Libris " by that greatest of collectors, Stanley Collins. In this monograph, the author not only touches on design and peculiarities of book-plates but gives the would-be book-plater some excellent advice in regard to its make-up.

" Did You Know?" Under this title Jimmy Findlay details some fourteen items of lesser-known facts regarding conjuring literature and follows it with an article ' The Chapbook in Conjuring Literature." (Chapbooks covered a wide variety of subjects. They were usually made up of some twenty-four pages.)

A most handy glossary of book terms is followed by an article on " Rarities," by Chris Charlton, the three rarest magazines being quoted.

The Annual concludes with an excellent article on " Variety in Collecting," by J.B.F. Here worthwhile advice is offered to the would-be collector, advice that comes from one whose experience carries the worth and word of authority.

With the certain knowledge that readers of this bulletin have a love of magic outside the acquisition and performance of tricks, we hope that they will, without fail, obtain a copy of this most excellent work. We feel equally certain that a reading and re-reading will set them looking through books, magazines and programmes with a thought that perhaps there is somehting in this " collecting " idea after all.

THE " KEN. BROOKE TRILBY ROUTINE (published by Ken. Brooke, Veroni House of Magic, 160, Westgate, Bradford, Yorks. Price 5/-. No charge if " Trilby " pack is purchased. The charge for the " Trilby " pack with the original instructionss is 21/-).

This particular routine is in duplicated form and runs to some fourteen pages. It is written in a sincere manner that leaves no doubt in the reader's mind that it is4 effective card m^gic and it will work one hundred per cent. The author is not content with a mere recital of the description and working of the effects in the routine but in a careful and effective manner makes the routine a true, lemon iy card magic.

The routine consists of three good effects. They are of such calibre that they will bring the performer credit for being a clever, card worker. At the end of the routine the performer is left with an unprepared pack, an obvious advantage for close quarter work.

If you purchased a " Trilby " pack and have for the moment put it on one side, you will, dear reader, be doing yourself a disfavour in passing by this particular routine. We know full well that were Ken. Brooke to demonstrate the effects, you would be prepared to pay a much higher price than that at present demanded.

THE 4 KEN. BROOKE MARKED CARD IN BALLOON " (published by Ken. Brooke, of Veroni House of Magic, 160, Westgate, Bradford, Yorks., price 5/- complete with cards. If, the " Yimka " apparatus is/ purchased, the routine is supplied gratis).

Ken. Brooke quotes that the " Trilby " routine (reviewed above) in conjunction with the present effect constitutes his card act.

This routine '3 duplicated and runs to about one thousand words. As in the "Trilby" routine, the author teaches the reader every point that will help to make the effect remembered by an audience. Although the " Card in Balloon " is no favourite of ours, we know full well that with the average audience it is a most effective item, and the particular presentation and handling in this version is vfery good indeed. Snag proof, it is unreservedly recommended.

SCALBERT'S MUSICAL MYSTERY (published by the Scalbert Brothers, price 10/-).

These two most ingenious magical brothers have got together in devising a method for presenting a musical thought transmission act. Twenty cards, each of which bears the name of a different composition printed on are passed out to the audience. A number of these are chosen and the cards placed in front of the performer. His assistants who is seated at a piauo, then plays, one after the other, the selected meJydies. We will now quote from the • routine : "At no time does the performer speak or signal in any way, except to read out the name of the tune on the card after it has been played ". That statement is perfectly true. The designers of this mystery have devised a mechanical method of signalling the chosen composition. Not content with one method, two others equally good are given. Needless to say, the partner at the receiving end has little to learn. Let us also remark to those who have no partner able to play the pianó, that the name of the composition caá be announced, whistled or sung. Though the rauge of twenty to an experienced two person mental act seems small, a method to cover an extra twelve compositions will be supplied upon request. (Actually we can't think why it was included). The whole thing is diabolically clever in its simplicity, and is a very worthwhile buy for anyone wishing to present this type of effect with the minimum of trouble.


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