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Aug 23, 2012

If I was really good at this whole interviewing gig, I would have invited one of my previous guests, actor Paul Michael Glaser, to return to be part of the conversation today. Glaser was the person who first brought the great Harry Houdini to my attention when he played the master magician and escape artist in “The Great Houdini,” a thrilling 1976 ABC Movie of the Week. It was one of those seminal moments that forever fired my imagination. I thought a lot about that movie as I was reading The Houdini Specter, the third in novelist Daniel Stashower’s series, “The Harry Houdini Mysteries.”

DANIEL STASHOWER audio excerpt: "If you and I were talking a couple years ago and you said they're going to do this show called Sherlock and it's set in the present day and it's going to be 'Jim' from the British version of The Office, I'd have said, 'Oh, that's going to be terrible!' Of course, I sat down and watched it and liked it. So I am open to being pleasantly surprised by Elementary. There are a lot of good people connected with it, so I will watch it with an open mind." 

The novels capture an imagined moment in time when Houdini already possessed an enormous ego for his prestidigitation and deductive skills—but had yet to earn it with anyone outside of his immediate family. The Houdini Specter is a wild romp: good story, terrific characters in Harry and brother Dash, and a taste of the future genius as young man. It also gave me a desire to investigate Stashower’s other period piece, The Ectoplasmic Man, one of “The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.” And you'll no doubt be interested in his opinion on the BBC series "Sherlock" and its star, Benedict Cumberbatch.

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