Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Danger in the Dark: A Houdini and Nate Mystery

Danger in the Dark: A Houdini and Nate Mystery

Tom Lalicki
Fiction  Series
For ages 8 to 12
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006   ISBN: 978-0374316808

Harry Houdini, the world's greatest magician and illusionist, has come to the Bennet & Son hatters shop on Fifth Avenue. Nathaniel G. Makeworthy Fuller happens to be working in the shop on that day, and when Mr. Houdini leaves the shop without paying for his hat, Nate is sent to the magician's house to get payment.

At Houdini's house Nate meets the magician's delightful wife, and he ends up telling her about his life. He tells her that his aunt is under the influence of a man who claims to be able to summon the spirits of the dead. This man, a Mr. Trane, is encouraging Nate's aunt to disinherit Nate and to send Nate and his mother away. Nate is afraid that Mr. Trane will do something terrible to his aunt.

When Houdini hears about this terrible situation he promises to help Nate and his mother expose Mr. Thane for what he is – a manipulative crook. Houdini has a lot of experience in dealing with phony spiritualists but Mr. Trane turns out to be a very tough customer indeed.

In this first title in a new series, Tom Lalicki tells a riveting and highly entertaining story that beautifully combines fact with fiction. Readers will get to meet Harry Houdini, who was fond of dramatic gestures and mysteries, but who also did what he could to stop tricksters from conning innocent people out of their money. Told from Nate's point of view, this is grand adventure for readers who like a story with a bit of fizz.