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George Hunter
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I already own more good book tests than I get around to performing, but two new ones have come out that I could not resist. One is Shawn Farquhar's Sheer Luck, which I reviewed in another thread. The other is Jim Kleefeld's Mysterious Affair.

Kleefeld is best known for his library magic shows, and for the effects and props he markets for other library performers. More recently, he produced Cinema Verite (and then Classic Film Verite), which represents a unique and significant use of movie posters in the apparent reading of minds; it involves a pioneering method, quite different from the method in Director's Cut. I now feature a Verite effect, fairly early, in nearly every performance.

Still more recently, Kleefeld has entered the crowded field of book tests with The Mysterious Affair. Like in his Verite effects, Kleefeld has again pioneered some new methodology. From the spectators' perspective, the effect features two (or three) early detective novels by Agatha Christie; the spectator chooses one, turns to a page of her choice, and the mentalist is able to tell her the sense of a top line she has read. In this respect, the effect is reminiscent of Non Plus Ultra but, by reading a line rather than a whole paragraph, it plays faster--with no risk of drag. Furthermore, the top line on every page is different.

The spectator also locates a visual illustration near the line she read, and the mentalist is able to sense what the illustration is about. Again, every illustration is different throughout the novel.

Jim Kleefeld's project warrants the interest of the mentalism a community for at least several reasons. It features real novels, good hardbacks, by a very widely recognized novelist; no spectator will ask, "What is that?". The learning curve is manageable; what you learn for performing from the first novel will serve you for the second and third. The 18-page manual is as clear and competent as any we see in mentalism. The performer who studies Christie and the first novel enough will discover many ways to make this effect very interesting and engaging.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd award this the same score (though for different reasons) that I gave Sheer Luck--a 9.5. The Mysterious Affair enters the upper tier of published book tests.

George Hunter
george1953
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Do you have a link for this ?
By failing to prepare, we are preparing to fail.
George Hunter
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Hi George 1953:

In response to an email from Jim Kleefeld to a roster of people who have bought from him before, I bought The Mysterious Affair this month from his website--JimKleefeld.com.

Stevens Magic carries Jim's Verite effects, so they will probably stock Mysterious Affair as well.

If you get it, you will enjoy performing it.

George 1938
george1953
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Many thanks George, what a great name you have BTW ;-)
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jerdunn
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The Mysterious Affair books may have a clever method, I don't know. But it seems odd to have an Agatha Christie novel with illustrations.

Also, Agatha Christie books are virtually always mass-market paperbacks, so a hardback special edition seems unusual and might attract attention.

As a side note, I long ago re-covered some of my Flashback paperbacks with covers from Agatha Christie and other mysteries. They look perfectly ordinary and do the job nicely. I use the pp. 92-93 f*****g book to guide the participant to a page in an ungaffed mystery book where I can describe the scene in the first paragraph of either page.

Cheers,
Jerry
George Hunter
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Jerry:

This effect, substantially, draws from Agatha Christie's very first novel. Few spectators would have any idea whether it was hardback or paperback.

The illustrations do not stand out enough to raise questions. They merely permit one of the effect's reveals.

I notice that Stevens Magic is now featuring The Mysterious Affair.

George
Demitri
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Jerdunn - I disagree with your comment on the books being suspicious. My parents are big fans of Agatha Christie, owning the entire collection of her books. They are all hardcover. In this instance, the books look identical, a matching set. Two different friends of the family also have collections of Christie novels - both in hardcover, and all 3 collections look completely different. While I agree that Christie novels, these days, are largely mass market - I don't think it's unusual for a fan to have a special edition hardcover.

I kind of agree with the illustrations concept. Not having seen the books, I can't be sure - but it does seem unusual. Without giving away (and I'm not asking) anything - are the illustrations like a full page illustration on the opposite side of the text, or is it within the text, itself?

As a big fan of Agatha Christie, these are quite tempting...
jerdunn
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As a general reader, I'd never seen anything but Agatha Christie paperbacks.

But I checked, and Amazon carries hardcover versions with the same large-script "Agatha Christie" on the covers that the "Mysterious Affair" book-test volumes feature.

So I'm sure the gaffed books will look realistic to fans and collectors. And, on reconsideration, I believe that regular folks probably won't find the books' format odd. I do think that having illustrations seems more like children's books than adult mysteries, but hey, if it allows for an additional reveal . . .

Cheers,
Jerry
Mind Guerrilla
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Is "The Cavendish Poisoning" a real book? I can't find it on a Google search (although "Cavendish" is the name of a character in "The Mysterious Affair at Styles)."
Ken Dyne
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I don't yet own this effect, however this question of whether the book will be suspect due to it being hardback is really nonsense to me. Most book tests that people have been using for YEARS are made up, non existant books, never mind real titles that people will have heard of. So the fact that these are provided with real, recognisable titles is even further convincing, and to my mind if anyone in the audience is sat thinking 'I don't think that book was published in hardback' then you should probbaly be looking at tightening up your presentation and giving your audience less time to think about such boring things Smile

I'm a book test fanatic, so am going to be ordering this one Smile
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saysold1
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Quote:
On Aug 16, 2014, Ken Dyne wrote:
I don't yet own this effect, however this question of whether the book will be suspect due to it being hardback is really nonsense to me. Most book tests that people have been using for YEARS are made up, non existant books, never mind real titles that people will have heard of. So the fact that these are provided with real, recognisable titles is even further convincing, and to my mind if anyone in the audience is sat thinking 'I don't think that book was published in hardback' then you should probbaly be looking at tightening up your presentation and giving your audience less time to think about such boring things Smile

I'm a book test fanatic, so am going to be ordering this one Smile


Agree 100%

I plan to get this one of these days. For a guy that creats a lot of kids entertainment, Kleefeld seems to have a very creative and deep knowledge of mentalism and coming up with clever methods.
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jerdunn
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Quote:
On Aug 16, 2014, Ken Dyne wrote:
. . . this question of whether the book will be suspect due to it being hardback is really nonsense to me.


Actually, I didn't say that hardbacks per se are suspect -- so I agree with you.

Quote:
Most book tests that people have been using for YEARS are made up, non existant books, never mind real titles that people will have heard of. So the fact that these are provided with real, recognisable titles is even further convincing...


It's definitely a convincer if audiences are familiar with the authors or titles of the books we use for book tests. It reduces possible suspicion about the props. That's why I recovered my Flashback books with covers from mysteries by Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, and other famous British mystery authors. For the same reason, I also substituted the dust jacket from a Fletch mystery on my MOABT hardcover.

My point in my earlier post was this: When people are familiar with a certain FORMAT for a famous author's books -- for example, mass-market paperback Agatha Christie mysteries -- they might notice an unfamiliar format (e.g., hardback Christie mysteries, with illustrations). As it turns out, such hardbacks were unfamiliar to me, but apparently not to other readers of Agatha Christie.

As I corrected myself above, it therefore seems just fine that the Mysterious Affair book test is in hardcover format.

Cheers,
Jerry
El Mystico
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Is this a stage book test? Or can it be left lying around the house....ie how much 'examination' can it take? (I put examination in inverted commas; if I saw a Christie novel lying around in a friend's house, I'd probably pick it up and read a few pages in an idle moment...
Faster
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Quote:
On Aug 16, 2014, Mind Guerrilla wrote:
Is "The Cavendish Poisoning" a real book? I can't find it on a Google search (although "Cavendish" is the name of a character in "The Mysterious Affair at Styles)."


Good question. Dame Christie's books were published under different titles on either side of the pond. Even so, I don't have anything in my catalog of titles that offers up "The Cavendish Poisoning" as a viable title anywhere. Now, "Styles" has a central character/family named Cavendish and one of them was poisoned. Perhaps the title, then, is merely another way of restating "The Mysterious Affair at Styles?"

In other words, could it be they both contain the exact same text/story/mystery/characters? Are we getting 2 copies of the same book under different titles? That does not fit with the marketing descriptions I've read that imply these are two different books. But if they are different, then whence the title, "The Cavendish Poisoning?" Have I been missing out on one of Dame Christie's novels all these years?

Would some kind soul please confirm the stories in both books are different, assuming that would not be disclosing any methods or secrets?

Richard
gypsyfish
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I really think this speculation should be done in Inner Thoughts.

If you have specific questions, why not write Jim Kleefeld and ask him. He's a grand fellow and, I'm sure, would answer them. I'm not sure I would answer them because people often just 'want to know the secret' but, at least that way it might end the speculation (and not just of this book test, but many other products that go through this seemingly endless guessing and, at times, revelation of secrets.

Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith based on comments by people who own the product or the creator's reputation. Jim has an excellent reputation of product design and customer service.
AllenChilver
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I am reading glowing reviews of this book test but am somewhat concerned at the copyright position. I believe "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" is out of copyright in the USA but is still under copyright in the UK. However I'm not an expert - perhaps someone could confirm or correct me on this.
Stefmagic
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Quote:
On Nov 19, 2014, AllenChilver wrote:
I am reading glowing reviews of this book test but am somewhat concerned at the copyright position. I believe "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" is out of copyright in the USA but is still under copyright in the UK. However I'm not an expert - perhaps someone could confirm or correct me on this.

very good question.
NeilS
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Copyright lasts for 70's years after the author's death, so all Agatha Christie's work are still in copyright.
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