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Danger in the Dark: A Houdini & Nate Mystery (Houdini and Nate Mysteries) Hardcover – October 3, 2006


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 850L (What's this?)
  • Series: Houdini and Nate Mysteries (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); First Edition edition (October 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374316805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374316808
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,791,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-7–Lalicki, author of Spellbinder: The Life of Harry Houdini (Holiday House, 2000), mines his vast knowledge of the magician for this first novel in the series. In the summer of 1911 in New York City, 13-year-old Nathaniel G. Makeworthy Fuller is working as a clerk's assistant in a Fifth Avenue hat store. He and his widowed mother live with his wealthy great-aunt. After Houdini buys a hat, leaving his calling card but no money, Nate is sent to the escape artist's home to present the bill. Houdini's wife befriends him, and he comes to trust her and her husband enough to share his concerns about the late-night séances that his aunt's new friend, David Douglas Trane, holds at her house. Working together, Houdini and Nate uncover Trane's scheme to convince Aunt Alice, through bogus exchanges with her late husband, to make him the beneficiary of her sizable estate. He is exposed, but not before Nate is knocked unconscious, kidnapped, and nearly murdered, and his mother drugged. Lalicki not only includes lots of information about Houdini, but also brings the period to life with many historical references. The author is a scrupulous researcher, and while the history integrated into the novel is interesting, at times it impedes the plot. However, readers who are fascinated by Houdini as well as those who enjoy a combination of mystery, adventure, and historical fiction, with a hefty dose of melodrama, will eagerly await the next installment.–Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Twelve-year-old Nathaniel Fuller has been raised in fastidious luxury in a household that includes his elderly great-aunt, his widowed mother, and a nearly invisible housekeeper. Growing up in Manhattan in 1911, he's surrounded by miraculous new inventions such as telephones and automobiles, as well as the grim realities of sweatshops and class conflicts. What stirs Nate's curiosity most, however, are the strange voices he hears every night in the family parlor. The man who visits most often is definitely unsavory. During the course of his job at a gentlemen's hat store, Nate meets Harry Houdini. They quickly become friends, and Houdini develops his own theories about the suspicious gentleman caller. The action is nonstop, and even a flurry of enormous coincidences won't spoil enthusiasm for this entertaining story. Lalicki puts his extensive knowledge of Houdini into creating an engaging, credible character that pairs well with likable Nate. This is a promising start to the Houdini & Nate Mystery series. Francisca Goldsmith
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Tom Lalicki is the author of the award-winning Spellbinder: The Life of Harry Houdini which inspired him to write three Houdini & Nate mysteries for young readers: Danger in the Dark, Shots at Sea and Frame-up on the Bowery.

He lives in Westchester county, New York with his best friend (and wife), Barbara, and three outstanding cats.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Allen Lester on March 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Houdini comes across as a fascinating mentor as he helps Nate save his great-aunt from a spiritualist schemer. I was totally drawn in by the scenes showing how the seances were conducted, and enjoyed the up-close view of Houdini performing on the vaudeville stage. The suspense builds throughout this fast-paced mystery. Nate is a kid who grows increasingly confident and daring as the danger increases and it's thrilling to see how he takes on his adversary in the final harrowing confrontation.
It was interesting--but not surprising--to learn that Lalicki is something of a Houdini expert; this never bogs down the story but contributes to a well-rounded characterization and a believable connection with young Nate.
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Format: Hardcover
It is obvious that Lalicki's vast knowledge about Houdini permeates this great read. With Houdini's help, young Nate becomes empowered and blossoms into a tenacious detective who helps save his wealthy great-aunt (his deceased father's sister)from scam artists. The story unfolds as they are about to extort her fortune while claiming to be in contact with her deceased brother - Nate's father. Lalicki writing builds up the story as he describes the characters, the setting (early 1900s & the streets of New York,) and the imminent crime. The book presents historical perspectives, Nate's job in a gentleman's haberdashery, societal roles, Houdini's character and performanceseducates as it entertaines both young readers and old (like this writer!)
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