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After years of struggling on the dime museum circuit, Harry Houdini got a break that put him on the front page of a Chicago newspaper. Soon Houdini was performing for royalty, commanding vast sums, and exploring the new power of Hollywood. At a time when spy agencies frequently co-opted amateurs, Houdini developed a relationship with a man who would later run MI-5. For the next several years, the world's most famous magician traveled to Germany and Russia and routinely reported his findings. After World War I, Houdini embarked on a battle of his own, creating a group of operatives to infiltrate the seamy world of fake spirit mediums. In doing so, he triggered the wrath of fanatical Spiritualists, led by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Death threats became an everyday occurrence, but the group would pose an even greater danger to Houdini's legacy.--From publisher description.