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The Novena Enigma
by Ken de Courcy

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The Novena Enigma by Ken de Courcy

Another great trick by Ken. You can do it anytime, anyplace with any deck. You can perform it even if the deck is incomplete. It is a perfect impromptu trick. It has all the elements of a great trick: an entertaining patter, comedy and a surprising finish.


A pack is shuffled and a card is selected by a spectator, shown to a few other people, then returned. The magician shows the face card of the pack and asks whether it is the chosen card. This is denied. The performer tries to right the things.

He drops the pack face down on the table but the top card is face up. But once again the spectator says it's not his card. The magician decides to switch to a puzzle. He shuffles the pack, then deals out nine cards in a face down circle. "The object", he says, "is to start on any card, count to three anti-clockwise and turn up the card. Then you continue doing that until there is only one card left face down.

"The only thing is ... you cannot start the count on a face up card, nor can you finish on a face up card. But the three cards you count must always be next to each other".

The magician demonstrates how it's done, then gathers up the cards and deals them again for the spectator to try. It's unlikely he'll succeed. The cards are gathered and re-dealt with the same lack of success.

"I'll show you again", says the performer. Once again the cards are dealt and the counting is done by the magician. As before, only one card remains face down.

"Incidentally", says the magician, "what was that card you chose earlier?" On being told, he flips over the one face down card ... and that's it!

1st edition 1982, 1st digital edition 2013, 6 pages.
word count: 1367 which is equivalent to 5 standard pages of text