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One Ahead mysteries

Uncanny Valley cover

Available from Amazon (Kindle).

One Ahead Mysteries feature David P. Abbott. In addition to being an accomplished magician in early 20th century Omaha, NE, David Abbott was a skeptic and debunker of fraudulent mediums. In "The Case of the Sorrowful Seamstress," Abbott investigates Miss Mary Grace, a charismatic spiritualist who has enthralled the sister of a young railroad worker.

Mr. Abbott will return next year in "The Case of the Horrid Haunting".

Genre: Mystery

Excerpt from The Case of the Sorrowful Seamstress
A One Ahead Mystery

(from Chapter 1 – Meet the Abbotts)

The first portion of Abbott's parlor performance involved tricks that Nellie had seen in the past, but always on a stage. The linking rings, an illusion dependent on perspective and depth perception, was usually performed so far away that a magician might be holding any number of rings hidden behind others. In David Abbott's parlor, he manipulated the golden hoops six feet from Nellie. Duplicate hoops appeared chained and linked in elaborate patterns only to disappear again. When finished, Nellie was certain that Abbott placed only three rings on the small table instead of the dozen she had seen glittering against the blue-black curtain that had transformed the room into a perfect stage.

Any common parlor object was fair game for Abbott. His paper tearing mystery used the evening edition of the Omaha World Herald. Instead of a handkerchief dancing, he used a doily from beneath a cut crystal pitcher that sat on the back of the piano. Within Abbott's pudgy hands, the objects did his bidding. Fannie was a silent supplier and remover of things. She brought in shears and placed them on Abbott's end table as he performed a cut-and-restore rope trick with the pull-cord from the drapes. She removed the rings from the small side table (Nellie was still sure there were only three) before Abbott displayed his version of the Bangs Sisters spirit portrait trick upon it. For a large woman, Fannie Abbott moved with ease and grace.

At the conclusion of the first half of the program, the guests were invited to the dining room to partake of a spread of cold cuts and sweets set out by Fannie in the moments when she wasn't needed as the magician's assistant. The entire retinue was allowed to pass by the side table, the hanging silk, and the oriental screens that David Abbott had just used in his performance. The unlinked linking rings, for example, hung on the curved handle of a glass-doored bookshelf that sat next to the table of beverages. Nellie didn't need to inspect them. She knew these three rings would be solid and whole. Abbott's brother-in-law Charles did finger one of the brass hoops, though, with an expression of awe.

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