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The Bear's Claws by Grace Sartwell Mason & John Northern Hilliard

An exciting adventure and game of espionage featuring among others Judy Gray from New York, a typist who writes imaginary adventure novels in her spare time, John Savidge from Chicago, employed by the Eastern Securities Company to secretly survey and plan a trans-Persian railway, Serge Wolkonsky an agent of the Russian Secret Service, and Tom Jaggard from America, a magician who travels the Middle East under "The Great Jaggard, the World's Master Mage of Magic".

The backdrop is Persia at the beginning of the 20th century. All the powerful nations, first and foremost Russia, want to build and thus control a trans-Persian railway. The Russian Secret Service's goal is to steal the plans and papers John Savidge has developed over the better part of a decade for the American Eastern Securities Company to secure a winning bid for Russia.

The coauthor, John Northern Hilliard, is well known to conjurers as Howard Thurston's advance-man and editor and author of conjuring books. There are lots of references to magic and scenes in the novel that will delight the magician, such as: "They've thimble-rigged Turkey, shifted the cut on Germany, and run in a cold deck on England. Do you think they'd hesitate to turn a trump from the bottom to win this trick?"

1st edition 1913, 351 pages; PDF 137 pages.
word count: 58690 which is equivalent to 234 standard pages of text

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