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This book won the SAM Special Library Award. It details Martin Gardner's, Jeff Busby's and Bart Whaley's search to uncover the person hiding behind the pseudonym S.W. Erdnase. It lays out in detail the case for Milton Franklin Andrews. It describes the life of Andrews, how he started with magic, and how he transitioned to become a cardshark, including his travels around the word hustling and cheating to make a living.
A detailed analysis of Erdnase's likely sources and inspirations, as well as other information about the book, its reprints, and other pertinent information will help every Erdnase researcher. It also includes a technical section explaining the Erdnase Grip and some new ideas for the Erdnase Bottom Deal.
While there are probably not many left who think Milton Franklin Andrews was S. W. Erdnase, this work continues to be a very important work of reference for historians.
It is by itself also a great true crime book regardless of what you might make of the Erdnase connection it champions.
1st edition 1991, 434 pages; 1st digital edition 2020, PDF 373 pages.word count: 155515 which is equivalent to 622 standard pages of text
- Chapter 1: Rogue's Run
- Chapter 2: The Last Hour
- Chapter 3: The Man
- Chapter 4: The Author
- Chapter 5: On The Road With Bessie
- Chapter 6: For The Love Of Nulda
- Post Mortem
- Chapter 7: Suicide Or Snuff?
- Chapter 8: American Bluebeard?
- The Magic Of Erdnase
- Chapter 9: Personal Effects
- Chapter 10: Sources & Inspirations
- Chapter 11: Latter Day Methods & Myths
- Chapter 12: The Hunt For Erdnase
- Chapter 13: Questioned Documents
- Chapter 14: Revelations
- Chapter 15: A Case Of Identity
- The Story Of A Bestseller
- Chapter 16: Drake & Beyond
- Chapter 17: Bookmen, Pirates & Ghosts
- Conclusion: The Legacy
- Appendix A: Alibi Note To The Examiner
- Appendix B: Alibi Note To The Chronicle