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The Man Who Killed Houdini by Don Bell

The Man Who Killed Houdini386]

Don Bell

[Literary Non-Fiction]

Vancouver Sun pick for "Big Ones for Fall 2004 Reading"

On October 22, 1926, Montreal student J. Gordon Whitehead stepped into Harry Houdini's dressing room and sucker-punched the legendary magician and illusionist. Nine days later, Houdini was dead, victim of a ruptured appendix; meanwhile, J. Gordon Whitehead had permanently vanished from the public eye.

What happened to the man who threw the fatal punches? Was it an accident or foul play? Who were the two witnesses to the incident, how much did they know, and how does a stolen book fit into the picture?

Don Bell spent twenty years tracking clues to the mysterious Whitehead--a quest that took him across Canada and overseas. With flair and wit, Bell's true-life detective story describes the chase, gradually building a riveting profile of the man who killed Houdini and unearthing some troubling suggestions that Houdini's death may not have been an accident.

Includes never-before-published material

* A photograph of J. Gordon Whitehead 
* The affidavits of Whitehead and the only two witnesses to his altercation with Houdini
* New information about Whitehead, including a criminal past
* Extensive interviews with friends and relatives of Whitehead, the two witnesses, and others connected to the event
Photographs of the students who were present when Houdini was punched
* The first confirmation from "the second witness", Jacques Price, that he saw the fatal blows
More than 20 photos

"[Don Bell] decided to track down the Montrealer who dealt Houdini's fatal blow. And he came away with a book full of surprises..."
ational Public Radio

"A fabulous read."
Patrick Watson

Don Bell, aka The Bookman, was a writer and antiquarian book dealer who lived in Montreal, Paris and Sutton, Quebec. A recipient of a National Magazine Award, he also received the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour in 1973 for Saturday Night at the Bagel Factory (M&S). Don Bell's column, Founde Bookes, appeared in Books in Canada until he died in 2003.


ISBN:  1-55065-187-0
Price:  $22.95 Illustrated: Yes Cover:  Trade Paper
Size:  5.5 x 8.5 No. of Pages: 260 In Print: Yes

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