From Publishers Weekly
The late Don Bell's gripping examination of Houdini's mysterious death dismisses popular theories and possible perpetrators, eventually zeroing in on a reclusive divinity student who all but disappeared after he sucker punched Houdini and caused the ruptured appendix that would soon kill the vaudevillian escape artist. In the wake of Houdini's death, innumerable potential culprits surfaced, not least among them the spirit mediums Houdini frequently ridiculed. Bell, however, identifies J. Gordon Whitehead, a self-described divinity student, as the punch thrower. The book documents Bell's search for witnesses and corroborators in an alternately dry and creepy fashion. A visit to Whitehead's grave in Montreal maintains an air of expectancy, and Bell's visit to Whitehead's hometown seems to suggest the intrepid reporter was being shadowed, either by his own paranoia or Houdini himself. The eeriness mounts as Bell gets closer to Whitehead, a man who seemed to want to give the impression he was hiding something. While scrupulously researched, the book will appeal mostly to Houdini enthusiasts and conspiracy theorists. Photos.
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"[Don Bell] decided to track down the Montrealer who dealt Houdini's fatal blow. And he came away with a book full of surprises." —National Public Radio