by Terrance McArthur
Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of Tales of a Thought Reader and a link to purchase it.
I read it months ago.
It’s been on my desk, in my bag, and by my bed.
When I look at it, it seems to say, “Come on! Review me, already!”
How do I describe it?
The Chevalier Stuart Cumberland is a real stage magician who entertained in many countries, astonishing audiences and royals with his ability to seemingly read thoughts. Barry H. Wiley has created a fictional biography that combines David Copperfield, The Amazing Kreskin, and James Bond into a rollicking journey through the past, Tales of a Thought Reader.
For one thing, Stuart Cumberland is a fabrication. He was born Charles Garner, raised to work in an English butcher shop. When he worked as secretary to an American mentalist, he learned how to interpret the muscle tension of others, adopted a higher-class persona, and performed far and wide. Cumberland uses his skills to perform…and to catch criminals.
Among the nobility of Europe and the rebellious of India during the Raj era, he tracks down murderers by touching their hands. Even though he uses physical means to work his wonders, Cumberland keeps searching for real magic. Once in a while, he has moments of insight that could only be explained by having real powers. After he has paid his theatrical dues by failing a few times, Cumberland never loses.
In his novels about mentalism, Wiley never divulges magical methods that could be duplicated without years of practice, or else he gives a part of the secret that isn’t the real secret. It’s like he’s doing a fan dance, showing you tantalizing glimpses, but never revealing everything you really want to see.
The crowning section is a hitherto unpublished story, supposedly written by John Watson, M. D., detailing an episode where Cumberland matches wits with another crime-solver—Sherlock Holmes. They both try to crack the same case. Since this is Cumberland’s book, who comes out on top should be no surprise.
This brief volume of about 25,000 words is a pleasant romp, creating a semi-swashbuckling hero who lies and cheats his way as a profession, yet is scrupulously honorable. One would hope the real Stuart Cumberland was even half as fascinating as his novelized incarnation.
To enter to win a copy of Tales of a Thought Reader, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “thought,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 16, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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