Shelf Control #11: Escapade by Walter Satterthwait (1995)

Shelf Control is a weekly book meme @ Bookshelf Fantasies in which we write about one book that we want to read and already own. Read our hostess Lisa’s choice for this week over here.

In the summer of 1921, thirteen distinguished guests gather for a weekend party and seance at a stately Devon manor house. Their host, the Earl of Axminster, is found murdered in a locked room. Two of the guests, mystery writer Arthur Conan Doyle and the Great Houdini, apply their talents to solving the ingeniously crafted and cunningly executed crime. (Goodreads)


I love country-house mysteries but am not sure about involving real-life figures so have been hesitant about picking this up. How do you feel about it?


Want to participate? Do so over here.

10 thoughts on “Shelf Control #11: Escapade by Walter Satterthwait (1995)

  1. I don’t know anything about this book, but I am interested if you get answers from anyone. I have read two books in the Joshua Croft series by this author and I liked them. I have three more books in that series. But I have no experience outside of that series.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sure I’ve read this, but nothing is popping into mind from the plot. It sounds too much like a book Daniel Stashower wrote (The Houdini Specter) which has stayed in my mind much longer. I used to snap up any book that had Houdini in it and a detective novel with Houdini must have been a book I’ve read. I know I read all of the Houdini mysteries Stashower wrote. They were very fun, especially because Houdini’s brother Theo turns out to be the real detective in all the stories. In the short series of three books Harry Houdini is a egomaniacal blowhard who thinks he’s a great detective but always makes rash mistakes and gets the culprit wrong every time. Excellent idea considering how vain and arrogant he was in real life.

    I’d say you give ESCAPADE a try, Neer. Walter Satterthwait is an excellent writer and a marvelous storyteller. Stark House just recently reprinted a Satterthwait mystery based on the death of mystery writer Raoul Whitfield’s wife (DEAD HORSE). So he’s fresh in the minds of many diehard vintage crime fiction fans.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. John, I know your love for magicians and magic tricks in books. (Wasn’t your podcast too on this subject?). I have not heard of Daniel Stashower at all but the books do sound interesting. Know very little about Houdini except for his tragic death. Did he really have a brother Theo or is the character a product of the author’s imagination? Once the libraries open (when will they?) I’ll search for these books.

    I am glad that Satthertwait gets such a high recommendation from you. He is absolutely new to me. Have heard of Raoul Whitfield though haven’t read him but no idea about the mystery surrounding the death of his wife. It is great of Stark House to bring so many forgotten books and writers back into print.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, Theo Weiss is real. Not only is he the younger brother of Houdini, he also became a magician performing under the name Hardeen. He learned everything from his world famous brother and carried on the Houdini tradition of making escape artist tricks a standard fare for magic shows.

    Liked by 2 people

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