Cover image for The magician's fire
The magician's fire
Nicholson, Simon (Simon Bennett), 1971-
Publication Information:
Naperville, Illinois : Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, [2014]

Physical Description:
232 pages ; 20 cm.
Young Harry Houdini's efforts to perfect his magic tricks are put on hold when his mentor, Herbie, disappears, prodding Harry and his two best friends, Arthur and Billie, to embark on a dangerous investigation that pushes their skill and their friendship to the limits.
General Note:
"Originally published in 2014 in the United Kingdom by Oxford University Press."

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area
Audubon Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Clarence Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Clearfield Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Collins Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Dudley Branch Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Eggertsville-Snyder Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Grand Island Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Kenilworth Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
Julia Boyer Reinstein Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

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Young Harry Houdini spends his days chaining himself to train tracks and teetering on wires high above the city with his two best friends, Arthur and Billie. But when Harry's friend and magical mentor, Herbie, disappears, the three friends band together, determined to rescue the beloved magician.

With nothing more than a mysterious puff of purple smoke, an ominous threat, and a menacing Bulgarian for evidence, Harry, Arthur, and Billie embark on adangerously thrilling investigation that pushes their skill, and friendship, to the limits. But can Harry find Herbie before it's too late?

Author Notes

Simon Nicholson writes for Nick Jr. including such shows as Tickety Tock, Bob the Builder, and Zack and Quack, as well as for BBC children's programming. He lives in London. Visit him online at

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

British children's TV writer Nicholson makes his U.S. debut with this launch to the Young Houdini series, which opens in 1886 Manhattan. Harry, who has been shining shoes since his recent arrival from Budapest, shows off his daring early on, escaping from padlocked chains seconds before a train screams by (and earning showers of coins from impressed onlookers). Nicholson smoothly blends Houdini's prowess as an escape artist with his fictional hero's sleuthing skills as he tracks down a missing elderly magician. Two well-drawn friends-Billie, an orphan from New Orleans, and Arthur, the neglected son of a wealthy banker-help Harry solve the mystery. Rebelling against Harry's bossiness, the two set out to crack the case by themselves, a plot twist the author mines for humor as well as messages about friendship and teamwork. Nicholson works the theme of escape throughout the story: Billie flees from her job in a glue factory and Artie avoids being shipped off to boarding school. A cliffhanger ending will leave readers eager for the next installment. Ages 10-up. Agent: Eve White, Literary Agent. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-9-It's 1886 in Manhattan, and young Harry Houdini and his friends Arthur and Billie go all around the city performing daring acts of magic, including tightrope walking between 10-story buildings and escaping from manacles while chained to a train track. Harry works as a shoeshine boy and lives a penniless lifestyle, but he loves performing magic and learning new sleights of hand from his mentor, renowned magician Herbie Lemster. When Herbie mysteriously vanishes after a show-only a plume of purple smoke and a stranger with a snake brooch are left as clues-Harry and his friends intend to uncover the secrets behind the disappearance. This series opener is action-packed and fast-paced; each chapter ends with a cliff-hanger. Unfortunately, while Houdini is the main character, he is introduced to readers with no historical significance or background. Those without knowledge of the famous escape artist will want more information. Otherwise, the book is a fun and above-average read that will appeal to fans of the "39 Clues" (Scholastic, 2008).- Shalini Miskelly, St. Benedict Catholic School, Seattle, WA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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