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The Footprints on the Ceiling (The Great Merlini #2)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  26 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Merlini investigates murder in a haunted house on an island. There is even a touch of humor here along with a couple of inside jokes. - The Mystery Lover's Companion, Art Bourgeau
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 1st 1987 by International Polygonics (first published 1939)
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Bev Hankins
It's not enough that Clayton Rawson's Great Merlini has to answer the question of how a woman with an acute case of agoraphobia could be found dead in a room in a house on the opposite end of the island from where she lives. It's not enough that the room she's found in has a trail of footprints crossing the ceiling. It's not enough that someone sets fire to the house while Merlini is investigating the death. It's not enough that the case winds up including a fraudulent medium, a hunt for sunken ...more
Nancy Oakes
like a 3.5, really (when will we get this feature?). Two men, one a magician and puzzle solver known as "The Great Merlini," and the other, Ross Harte, are called out to Skelton Island in New York to check out a medium who was planning to hold a seance. As they arrive, they run into trouble immediately and discover a woman dead, seated in a chair. Problem is the woman lived on the other end of the island and never left her house because she had an incredibly severe case of agorophobia. Add to th ...more
The Footprints on the Ceiling, published in 1939, was the second of only four Great Merlini novels written by Rawson. The combination of stage magic and murder is always a winner in my opinion and this one is interesting in that the magic is not just there for background colour. Rawson’s idea was that the art of the illusionist is based largely on misdirection, and so is the fine art of murder (at least in the hands of a true artist of crime).

And the art of the detective consists in doing preci
An old friend asks the Great Merlini and his sidekick Ross Harte to visit a small, privately owned island on the East river to expose a fraudulent medium. The mysteries start before they arrive, when Ross is blackjacked for a suitcase full of antique coins he's found. Then, on Skeleton Island, they find a dead body before the seance can start. The cast of characters doesn't seem especially sinister at first, but everyone is lying, and the phone service from the island has been cut off. When Merl ...more
In Death from a Top Hat , Rawson served up a campy concoction of delicious "impossible" crimes and plummy tidbits about the magician's trade. Maybe he should have economized, because this less inventive sequel feels worked-up from leftover ingredients: even some of the suspects are reused. And while the creativity drops off, the writing and characterization remain at the same flat level.
Marta Boksenbaum
An exhausting mystery, this novel has way too much going on at once. Multiple murders, and everyone is guilty of something. The addition of the magician Merlini solving the case makes the whole thing too gimmicky for my taste. The whole book made my head spin when I was just looking for something light and fun.
Hard to keep track of these plots. Feel like I need a diagram to explain who was doing what to whom. By the time merlini revealed the killer I'd forgotten who he was. Still good though.
Clayton Rawson's detective novels featuring Merlini are all fun, as each features magic in its solution. A golden age series which is still entertaining today.
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Aka Stuart Towne.

Clayton Rawson (1906 - 1971) was an American mystery writer, editor, and amateur magician. His four novels frequently invoke his great knowledge of stage magic and feature as their fictional detective The Great Merlini, a professional magician who runs a shop selling magic supplies. He also wrote four short stories in 1940 about a stage magician named Don Diavolo, who appears as a
More about Clayton Rawson...
Death from a Top Hat No Coffin for the Corpse The Headless Lady The Great Merlini: The Complete Stories of the Magician Detective Death out of Thin Air

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