Sunday, March 14, 2021

The Zanetti Mystery by Houdini

Joe Notaro at Harry Houdini Circumstantial Evidence is sharing all eight chapters of Houdini's The Zanetti Mystery, which was serialized in newspapers beginning in December 1925 and marked Houdini's last piece of published fiction. The story nicely combines Houdini's love of mystery and detective yarns with his crusade against fraudulent mediums. The character of Zanetti can also be seen as the dark side of Houdini -- maybe what Houdini feared he would have become had he remained a fraud medium. Houdini would sometimes play Zanetti on stage during his exposure act.

Joe is sharing the original newspaper installments with illustrations by Edmund Fredrick. Chapter 1 is available now. I will add links as Joe posts each new installment below. Enjoy!


You can read more of Houdini's fiction via the links below or in the book Houdini's Strange Tales by Patrick Culliton.



  1. Do we know who the ghost writer was foe this series?

    1. I don't. Be wonderful if it was Walter Gibson. He was working for HH at this time.

    2. I guess I’m a one trick pony.

      J. Randolph Cox’s “Man of Magic & Mystery” doesn’t list it, but Cox would be the first to say he wasn’t able to capture the full scope of Gibson’s work.

    3. Thanks Tim. The impression I get from Gibson when he talks of his time with HH is that he was working on magic related works. But he certainly knew how to write fiction, so... This is a good question for "Houdini's Ghost".

    4. Not sure if Pat Culliton is planning on commenting himself, but I shot him an email asking if he though Gibson could be the author and he says:

      "No. Or Walter would have told me. I can tell Houdini had some input because it is so bad."

      Haha. :)

  2. We don't know who the ghost writer is, but my WAG would be Fulton Oursler, aka Samri Frikell and Anthony Abbot. He was an American journalist, playwright, editor and writer, who aided Harry Houdini in his crusade against fraudulent mediumship, Writing as Anthony Abbot, he was a notable author of mysteries and detective fiction.



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