Death from a Top Hat by Clayton Rawson

Death from a Top Hat by Clayton Rawson

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When a necromancer is murdered, a magician takes the case

Freelance scribe Ross Harte is working on an essay about the sad state of the modern mystery novel when a scream comes from the hallway: “There is death in that room!” Harte finds a trio of conjurers trying to get into the apartment of his neighbor, the mysterious Dr. Cesare Sabbat, famed occultist and, for the past few minutes, a corpse.

They break down the door to find Sabbat lying in a pentagram, face twisted from the agonies of strangulation, but with no bruises on his neck. All the doors were locked, and the windows drop straight down to the river below. Only an escape artist could get out of that room, and Sabbat knew quite a few. To make sense of this misdirected muddle, the police bring in the Great Merlini, an illusionist whose specialty is making mysteries disappear.


“Don’t miss this story.” —New York Times Book Review

“A cornerstone of detective fiction.” —New York Times

“One of the topflight mystifiers in the whole bloodhound business, a favorite with plain fans and fancy connoisseurs alike.” —Fred Dannay, co-creator of Ellery Queen

“[A] wonderful wizard of crime.” — Eleanor Sullivan, editor, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

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via Wikipedia

Miracles for Sale is a 1939 American mystery film directed by Tod Browning, starring Robert Young and Florence Rice, and was Browning's final film as a director.

The film is based on a locked-room mystery novel by well-known mystery writer Clayton Rawson, Death From a Top Hat, which was the first to feature his series detective The Great Merlini. In this film, Merlini's character has been changed into Michael Morgan (The Amazing Morgan) as portrayed by Robert Young. Don Diavolo, another series character in Rawson's work under his pseudonym, Stuart Towne, appears here as "Dave Duvallo".