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The Magician and the Spirits


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Peopled with odd and fascinating characters, Houdini?s gripping quest will excite readers? universal wonderment with life, death, and the possibility of the Beyond.

About the Author

Deborah Noyes is the author of nonfiction and fiction for young readers and adults, including Ten Days a Madwoman, Encyclopedia of the End, One Kingdom, and The Ghosts of Kerfol. She has also compiled and edited the short story anthologies Gothic!, The Restless Dead, and Sideshow. You can learn more at and follow her on Twitter @DeborahNoyes.


A Washington Post Best Children's Book of the Year 2017
A Barnes and Noble Best Book of the Year 2017
A VOYA Nonfiction Honor Award for 2018

"Fans of magic, mystery, and debates on the supernatural will devour Noyes's take on Houdini." -School Library Journal, starred review

"Compelling . . . Whether or not young readers are intrigued by ghosts or magic tricks, Noyes's book treats them to colorful lessons in history, theatrics--and skepticism." --The Washington Post

"Magic, science, religion, ghosts, love, death, friendship, deceit, sleuthing--this book has it all! With flair and facts, Noyes tells the dramatic and moving story of Harry Houdini's friendship with Arthur Conan Doyle and the debunking of fake spiritualism. I loved it!" --Deborah Heiligman, National Book Award Finalist and Printz Honor-winning author of Charles and Emma and Vincent and Theo

"Readers will be unable to escape the appeal of Deborah Noyes's new book with such in-depth research and quirky characters." --Kirby Larson, Newbery Honor-winning author of Hattie Big Sky

"A compelling true story of magic, ghosts, science, friendship, deception, feuding, and sleuthing told with great flair." --Kirkus Reviews

"Chilling." --The Horn Book

"Packed with photographs and sidebars, this is a fast-moving presentation that manages to be both respectful of persons often considered gullible in retrospect while firmly siding with Houdini in his conclusion that spiritualism has not proved its case." --BCCB

"Noyes offers compelling tidbits about the many ways spiritualists performed their tricks, and helpful historical context for the popularity of spiritualism. Houdini's feud with avowed spiritualist Arthur Conan Doyle is particularly fascinating . . . Noyes' attention to Houdini's outsize personality--a key component of his campaign against spiritualists--adds compelling depth. A worthwhile addition to any nonfiction section, and ideal for kids intrigued by historical oddities." --Booklist

"Strange, beautifully designed, and sneakily affecting." --Tablet

"Deborah Noyes does a beautiful job bringing this historical phenomenon to life. Noyes is incredibly well-researched on both the history of the famous Harry Houdini and history of Spiritualism, illustrating for the reader just how intertwined the two really were. Rife with direct quotes, photographs, and interesting asides throughout, Noyes transports the reader back in time to an often forgotten, and hotly contested, period in our history."--Compass Book Ratings

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