By Karl Johnson
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: 2006-07-25
Number of Pages: 368
Website: Amazon, LibraryThing, Google Books
Synopsis from Amazon:
A recognized magician's trip to discover the best cardsharp ever conjures up the forgotten international of magic the place americans stumbled on break out in the course of the nice Depression
It has the nostalgic caliber of an old style delusion, yet Karl Johnson's The Magician and the Cardsharp is a real tale that lovingly re-creates the flicker of a vanished international. right here, set opposed to the backdrop of the United States suffering throughout the melancholy, is the area of magic, a realm of stars, sleight of hand, and sin the place desires can be learned - or stolen away.
Following the Crash of '29, Dai Vernon, identified by way of magicians as "the guy who fooled Houdini," is tramping down Midwestern backroads, slightly making ends meet. whereas swapping secrets and techniques with a Mexican gambler, he hears of a man he doesn't particularly think is genuine - a mythical secret guy who bargains completely from the guts of the deck and who locals name the best cardsharp of all time. made up our minds to discover the reclusive genius, Vernon units out on a trip via America's shady, slick, and sinful aspect - from mob-run Kansas urban via railroad cities that seemed sleepy in simple terms within the daylight hours. Does he locate the pointy?
Well, Karl Johnson did - after years of analysis into Vernon's colourful quest, study that led him to areas he by no means knew existed. Johnson takes us to the cardsharp's doorstep and indicates us how he bestowed on Vernon the best mystery in magic. The Magician and the Cardsharp is a distinct and forever wonderful piece of historical past that unearths the artistry and obsession of a distinct breed of yank showmen.
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Additional info for The Magician and the Cardsharp: The Search for America's Greatest Sleight-of-Hand Artist
Dr. Murray decided that hour of darkness had already been useless for a number of hours. whilst county coroner Ernest Runnenburger arrived, he took one examine the physique at the bed room ground and made up our minds instantly that there has been no use for an inquest. That evening, because the ice hurricane lashed friendly Hill, the temperature dropped to eight under. through Tuesday evening, it used to be 15 less than, the coldest it were in friendly Hill considering the fact that 1921—the yr that dead night Underwood, lusting after Alice Gant, had crashed in the course of the locked door of Mass Gant’s little apartment off major road downtown and opened hearth. through Wednesday, the day of Midnight’s funeral on the Hon Chapel, the roads have been nonetheless principally impassable. Midnight’s brother Fielding controlled to get to friendly Hill from Stoughton in time for the funeral, yet he wasn’t instructed the situations of his brother’s demise until eventually after he arrived. Midnight’s physique used to be taken to Lone Jack, close to the place he was once born, to the Underwood Cemetery that his kin had based decades sooner than. The gravediggers controlled to cut during the frozen earth and 6 pallbearers carried his coffin. The lead pallbearer was once Allen Kennedy, Midnight’s celebrity employee down on First road. * * * Kennedy helped out at another funeral in 1933 that may turn out altering the course of his lifestyles. A month past, he had served as a pallbearer on the funeral of his pal Woodrow Hipsher, one of many seventeen friendly Hill males who thirty-five years previous, in 1898, had enlisted to struggle within the Spanish-American battle. For Kennedy, the dying of hour of darkness took whatever away—those rollicking First road poker video games, his major technique of making money in friendly Hill. The dying of wooden Hipsher gave him anything new—Hipsher’s widow, Kate. Kennedy was once probably not lower out to be a playing boss, to supervise a complete operation the best way middle of the night had performed. (Though dead night had informed the census enumerator who had knocked on his door in 1930 that he used to be only a lowly foundry laborer, he had left an property worthy greater than $5,000 on the time of his suicide, a superior fortune in a Depression-era small city. ) The cardsharp used to be greater at operating the desk. Quiet and reserved, he may by no means play the gregarious operator that middle of the night have been for therefore a long time. in addition to, Kennedy had to spend loads of his time while he used to be clear of the video games training his sleights, holding the strikes clean. He labored greater if he had companions caring for the company finish of items. He additionally, because it grew to become out, wanted a brand new girl. now not lengthy after Vernon had come calling with Jeanne and Ted, Mary moved out of Kennedy’s existence. and never too lengthy after that, he took up with Kate Hipsher. She used to be a fascinating selection for a mate. Mary have been six years older than Kennedy, yet Kate was once a whole 11 years older. (She have been basically fifteen while she married wooden Hipsher in 1901, while Allen used to be 4 years outdated. ) She grew to become a spouse to Kennedy now, even if they by no means married formally. wooden Hipsher have been receiving a gradual veteran’s pension money for his carrier within the long-ago struggle, and after he died, the pension transferred to Kate.