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The magician and the cardsharp : the search for America's greatest sleight-of-ha
Karl Johnson
Adult Nonfiction GV1545.V47 J64 2005

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From Publishers' Weekly:

This engrossing detective story traces the quest of Dai Vernon, nee David Verner (1894-1992), to find the man who perfected the art of dealing from the center of the deck. An accomplished card cheat, sleight-of-hand magician and silhouette portraitist, Vernon was so expert at duplicitous card techniques that he once fooled Houdini with tricks he'd learned as a child from S.W. Erdnase's classic The Expert at the Card Table. Proficient at dealing from the top and bottom of the deck, he was astounded to learn that someone in the Midwest had the ability to win by dealing from the center. Johnson, a former editor at New York's Daily News, details Vernon's long search for Allen Kennedy (1865-1961), a cardsharp who plied his trade with loaded dice and deceitful deck handling. By recounting the shadowy careers of these two men, the author successfully evokes the picturesque world of illegal gambling during the 1920s, '30s and '40s. Johnson vividly conveys how obsessed Vernon was with magic and card tricks, and how much time, energy and practice gamblers put into learning how to cheat at cards. Agent, Fred Morris. (Aug. 10) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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