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Houdini and Conan Doyle

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Christopher Sandford’s book Houdini and Conan Doyle is a brilliant examination of the extraordinary and tempestuous friendship of two of the most fêted men of the early twentieth century: Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini.

Doyle, despite being the creator of the ultra-rational detective Sherlock Holmes, was a big believer in Spiritualism, convinced that it was possible to bridge the gap between life and death. Houdini meanwhile, was hugely sceptical of the supernatural, and used his knowledge of illusion to expose fake psychics and their kin. The two men were firm friends, but their vastly opposing views could only spell trouble...

The publishers, Duckworth, came to me to create a new cover for Sandford’s book. I did a bit of research, and found a playbill poster from the era challenging Houdini to display his skills, which felt like just the right sort of inspiration for the book.