Welcome! Like the book of the same name, this blog is an eclectic collection of Sherlockian scribblings based on more than a half-century of reading Sherlock Holmes. Please add your own thoughts. You can also follow me on Twitter @DanAndriacco and on my Facebook fan page at Dan Andriacco Mysteries. You might also be interested in my Amazon Author Page. My books are also available at Barnes & Noble and in all main electronic formats including Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iBooks for the iPad.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

A Magician Reads Sherlock Holmes

Magic Marc!

Marc Lehmann is a professional magician who has performed one of the greatest tricks of all—making a career out of his passion. He will be speaking (or is that performing?) at the Holmes, Doyle, & Friends conference in Dayton on March 25. Let’s see if we can learn some of his secrets.    

How and when did you first meet Sherlock Holmes?

In 1968, my junior year in high school, we were assigned a book report and my literature teacher selected The Hound of the Baskervilles. I became totally engrossed in the book and was eager to dive into the next Sherlock Holmes story that I could find. Shortly thereafter I discovered the Basil Rathbone films and that sealed my fate with Sherlock Holmes. (By the way, I got an A on the book report!)

How and when did you become a Sherlockian?

In the early 1990s, the Illustrious Clients of Indianapolis sponsored a Sherlock Holmes symposium in downtown Indy. At this time, I wasn’t even aware that a Sherlock Holmes organization existed. Michael Cox, one of the creators of the Granada series, was the featured speaker. Being an admirer of Jeremy Brett, I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to attend the symposium. However, I was just getting started with my magic career and any thoughts of joining a scion society had to be delayed. Fast forward to October 2013 and I had the good fortune of meeting Steve Doyle, Vincent Wright, and Meredith Granger. All three of these gentlemen were very welcoming and encouraged me to join the Illustrious Clients. I did, and that is when I felt that I “officially” became a Sherlockian!

What is the primary way that you engage with Sherlock Holmes (i.e., collecting, films, chronology, pastiches, scholarship, etc.)?

Reading the canon and watching vintage Holmes movies are my primary interests. Also, attending the Clients meetings and learning from true scholars is very beneficial to furthering my love and understanding of Sherlock Holmes.

Tell us about your career in magic.

As a child, I had absolutely no interest in magic—none whatsoever! However, in 1975 my wife, Susie, and I built a home in a young neighborhood with a lot of children, and I thought it would be a lot of fun doing magic for the kids in the neighborhood. The next thing I knew I was getting calls from schools, churches, business, and various organizations and they were willing to pay me to do magic shows! After a few years, I increased my corporate work and began performing close-up/strolling magic at our local Pizza Hut where I remained for 27 years! Eventually, I ended up with five Pizza Huts, Max & Erma’s restaurant (22 years), a pub/steak house named Arch Rivals (because of Purdue and IU) and a magic-themed restaurant in Carmel, IN known as Illusions. Now that it’s 2023 I am going to cut back a little—you might say semi-retired. Still enjoying my performances, mind you, just slowing down a bit.

My book of Sebastian McCabe mystery novellas, Murderers’ Row, is dedicated to seven conjurors, including you. Why are so many Sherlockians magicians—or is it that a lot of magicians are Sherlockians?

In 1976, I joined a magic club in Lafayette, IN. One of the first persons I met, and we soon became fast friends, was Mark Brandyberry. A marvelous magician and, I was soon to discover, an avid fan of Sherlock Holmes. (For my birthday in 1980 he bought me The Complete Sherlock Holmes). I found it amusing that Mark, like myself, was both a magician and a Sherlockian. Over the years, I have known several magicians who expressed an interest in the Master, and I never understood the connection. Perhaps it all started with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his association with Houdini! I am such a fan of your McCabe/Cody mysteries. Maybe we should ask Mac why the fascination between Sherlock Holmes and magicians!

What has it meant to you to be part of the Sherlockian community?

I speak not only for myself, but also for my wife, Susie, when I say that joining the Illustrious Clients has been one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives. Besides the immeasurable amount of knowledge that we have acquire, pertaining to the Grand Game, the friendship, generosity, and comradery is beyond description. From our very first meeting we have been made to feel welcome by every single member of the Clients.

Did your magic career drive your wife and kids crazy?

YES! (I won’t elaborate!)

Although Holmes, Doyle, & Friends Seven, March 24-25, 2023, is closed out for vendors, participants can still register here. 

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