The Right Way to Do Wrong

Did you ever know that famed stage magician Harry Houdini once collaborated on a story with H. P. Lovecraft? It's true! The wiry, wily entertainer also possessed a talent for words, never more visible than in his book-length study of rogues, eccentrics, and fellow prestidigitators reprinted here. "The truth seems to be that when a lovely woman stoops to crime, she usually goes to the greatest lengths of iniquity...." If you can resist sentences and themes of this nature, then even an introduction by silent stage wizard Teller might not be enough to lure you in.


April 18: "[W]ould it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament…?"

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…