This was the first magic book written by June Barrows Mussey and the only one under his real name. All other magic books appeared under his pseudonym Henry Hay.
Here is a practical and fascinating ebook which shows you how to master simple and complex conjuring tricks for your own pleasure and the entertainment of your friends. Mussey stresses the proper presentation of magic stunts and tricks, rather than the mere mechanics. He shows you how to progress from comparatively simpler tricks to those which require diligent study and practice.
In the majority of the tricks described, little or no equipment is necessary for their successful presentation. Everyone, young or old, loves to watch magic. And it is a rare person who has never wished he could amaze and amuse his friends with hocus-pocus. And this entertaining ebook tells you how.
This little volume of 83 pages is an excellent example of good composition, good illustrating, and good binding. It is set up in most attractive type, illustrated with 22 full-page photographic reproductions, and bound in brilliant, substantial cloth. We commend these points of excellence to all publishers of books on magic, and in particular to those whose publications sell at prices that range from twice to five or six times the price of Mussey's Magic.
This is a book of tricks without apparatus. The author undertakes to demonstrate "what we can do with bare hands and a bare face." The tricks are grouped under four headings: (1) "Between courses" (after-dinner tricks); (2) "After the bridge game" (card tricks); (3) "Coin of the realm" (coin tricks); and (4) "Miscellaneous parlor tricks" (feats suitable for the drawing-room).
Group 1 (16 pages) includes feats with matches, lump sugar, paper pellets, drinking glasses, napkins, and knives. Probably the best of the lot are The Vanishing Tumbler, The Traveling Pellets (to which the author appends the names of Blackstone and Houdini), The Flying Spots (dinner-knife and bits of paper), The Floating Sugar, and The Coin in the Roll ("sometimes used by the great English conjurer, Devant"!). Group 2 (25 pages) describes The Poker Trick, The Coincidence (a "Do as I Do" routine, credited by the author to John Mulholland), the familiar Row of Ten Cards, Penny Telepathy, a simple form of The Rising Cards, The Spelling Master, The Piano Trick (from Downs' The Art of Magic) and a number of other items. Group 3 (8 pages) is limited to a few coin sleights and "folds," and several very simple tricks. In Group 4 (25 pages) are some easy rope releases, The Jumping Rubber Band, three or four rope and string tricks of the "puzzle" type, a half-dozen mathematical feats, two stunts with dice, one handkerchief trick, The Afghan Bands, The Clinging Cane, and other odds and ends.
We believe that Magic would have been a better book if the author had dealt with fewer items and treated each more thoroughly. Some things in magic should be explained in detail or not at all. A failure to recognize this fact is apparent at several points in this book; for example, in the inadequate explanations of The Kellar Rope Tie and The Thumb Tie, in the two-page article entitled How to Find Chosen Cards, and in the paragraphs on card-forcing and coin-palming. But despite such shortcomings and the antiquity of some of its contents, the book is well worth reading and owning. It has freshness of style and viewpoint, and is clearly the work of an educated person, who, indeed, is said to have translated Fischer's Illustrated Magic from the German. With longer experience in the practical side of magic, Barrows Mussey should be able to write a work of more enduring value than the present volume.