I recently received a copy of the just released Longhi Book Test by Olivier Longhi and offer the following FYI. A more detailed review has been submitted to The Linking Ring, but if or when it will see publication is unknown.
The book is a nicely produced 195 page hardcover volume of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle with a simulated leather cover and an attached ribbon bookmark giving it a rather classic appearance that more than justifies its $138.00 cost. The book includes the original text of three Holmes stories that will certainly be familiar to the Sherlockians in the audience. The fact that the title, author and text are all genuine and recognizable lends it legitimacy. All of the 4 primary and dozen or so additional effects described in the instructions can be performed as advertised, although the wise performer will limit the presentation to only one, or at most two, effects. The axiom that more is less is especially applicable here and, as with all mentalism, good audience management skills are essential.
As the author and producer have advised, the basic secret employed is not new there are examples of its use in book tests dating from the 1940s; however, having studied hundreds of book tests, I am aware of only one earlier test in which it has been used in exactly the same way as in this book. The required handling is direct, natural and above suspicion. Although the book is gimmicked the gaff has been incorporated in a way that makes it both easy to use and unlikely to be detected by the participating spectator(s). While the book can be briefly handled by participating audience members with little risk that the secret will be discovered it should not be left in the hands of a spectator any longer that necessary to complete the effect.
It should be noted that both the author and producer of the effect are French, and while their English is far better than my French, there are occasional instances of idiom and syntax in both the instructions and the special pages in the book that some may find disconcerting. This is of minor concern in the instructions which, despite the occasional strange usages, are easily understood. The few awkward wordings in the book itself could be more problematic, but as long as the performer is aware of them and plans his presentation accordingly, they need not distract the participating audience member. It is anticipated that these potential deficiencies will be corrected in subsequent printings.
In that regard, those for whom English is not their primary language would be well advised to avail themselves of the services of an American proofreader or editor when preparing products intended for the American (or British) market.