Death from a Top Hat

ruined head

Death from a Top Hat
Clayton Rawson | International Polygonics | 1997 (first published 1938) | 286 pages

There is death in that room!

Stage magician, the Great Merlini, is called upon by the police to assist in solving not one, but eventually two, locked-door murders, in the first book of Clayton Rawson’s whodunnit crime series from the thirties.

Dr. Cesare Sabbatt, a dabbler in the occult and black magic, is found murdered, his body lying inside a chalked pentagram on the floor of his completely locked and bolted apartment. Complicating the police investigation is the nature of the suspects, a laundry list of members of the Society of American Magicians, each possessing special qualifications potentially enabling them to execute the seemingly impossible crime.

The group breaking down Sabatt’s door and discovering the body includes Madame Rappourt, a psychic, Eugene Tarot, a master card-trick and sleight-of-hand illusionist, Alfred…

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