The legendary Harry Houdini started the tradition of magicians debunking charlatans and revealing secrets of the trade that continues today through the likes Penn and Teller or James "The Amazing" Randi. But Houdini went even further here, in this delightful 1906 novelty: he revealed the working secrets of thieves, swindlers, and con artists. Culled from his conversations with "the chiefs of police and the most famous detectives in the world," Houdini's tales of the tricks of the trade of beggars, pickpockets, and burglars are instructive and amusing. The master showman was also a surprisingly entertaining writer-and this is one of his most enjoyable books, one that will enthrall readers of true crime as well as fans of Houdini himself. Hungarian-American magician and professional skeptic EHRICH WEISS (1874-1926)-aka Harry Houdini, "Handcuff King and Jail Breaker"-also wrote Magical Rope Ties and Escapes (1920) and A Magician Among the Spirits (1924).