Practical Handbook of Bee Culture - Any Info?

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Postby Marco Pusterla » 10/29/09 05:08 PM

Hi, everybody!

Going through my collection, I found again an odd booklet... This is "Practical Handbook of Bee Culture", by Sherlock Holmes (with foreword by Michael L. Cook). This book comes from the library of the late Val Andrews and it was published in 1982 by Magico Magazine, NYC. It's a small pamphlet of 16 pages.

I seem to remember reading that this was a book test's forcing book of sort published by Val Andrews, but I can't find any information about it (and, of course, I don't have instructions to go with it... and, no, I can't figure it out either!)

Does anybody know anything about this booklet? Is it what I think is?

Any help will be gratefully received.

Many thanks in advance,
Marco Pusterla - http://www.mpmagic.com

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Postby Dick Christian » 10/29/09 06:15 PM

Marco,

I am more than a bit conversant with booktests and forcing books, but "Practical Handbook of Bee Culture" is a new one on me. However, given that it is associated with both Val Andrews and Magico, your assumption is certainly logical. Give me 48 hours to do a bit of research and I'll get back to you. If it is what we both suspect it to be, I may be interested in purchasing it for both my personal collection and on going research for the book I'm compiliing on the history and evolution of forcing books and booktests. I assume that I can e-mail you privately at info@mpmagic.co.uk
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Postby Marco Pusterla » 10/30/09 04:59 AM

Dick,

Yes, please email me privately to that address. I don't remember where I read that the book was a forcing one (or it may have been part of a forcing set???) but I'm quite sure I did.

Many thanks, I'm looking forward in hearing from you,
Marco Pusterla - http://www.mpmagic.com

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Postby Dick Christian » 10/30/09 09:48 PM

Marco,

Am sending you a PM with additional details. For others whose interest in the "Practical Handbook" may have been piqued by Marco's query, you can stop wondering what you missed. It is NOT a forcing book, nor used for a book test. It is a fictitious book by a fictional author and it is about BEES. If any of you had been Baker Street Irregulars you would have recognized it immediately. (I'm not, so I didn't)
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/30/09 09:56 PM

I was so hoping the irregulars had ...
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Postby Marco Pusterla » 11/02/09 12:11 PM

Many thanks to Dick for all the effort he put in to track down this elusive booklet: it's much appreciated! I think the confusion was due to the fact I remembered Magico publishing a "Sherlock Holmes Book Test", which I never seen, and for some reason I was thinking it was the apiculture booklet. No, it' a different book altogether!

All the best!
Marco Pusterla - http://www.mpmagic.com

Paradise Lost out now - Christian Chelman's latest effect!
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Postby Bill Mullins » 11/02/09 12:57 PM

Magico did do a "Sherlock Holmes Force Book" -- see Linking Ring Jan 1980 p 179 for an ad for it. Val Andrews was deep into Sherlock Holmes, and wrote many articles and pamphlets on the detective.

Magico also did a book test THE RETURN OF PICKLOCK HOLES
By R. C. Lehmann (this was a parody of Holmes -- see review in MUM Apr 1981).

The Apr 1951 issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine had a Sherlock Holmes story (The Adventure of the Blue
Carbuncle) slightly edited so it could be a part of the series of forces inserted in that issue.

"Creations" by Sam Schwartz was a Sherlock Holmes book test released by Tannen ca. 1996.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 11/02/09 01:21 PM

One option for such a book for both the Baker Street and Hogwarts irregulars could be The Dynamics of an Asteriod with a forward by H. Potter and some our current crop of book test experts.
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Postby Dick Christian » 11/02/09 01:35 PM

In fact, Magico published several Sherlock Holmes forcing books and book tests including:

"A Study in Scarlet" (1979, sold as "The Sherlock Holmes Force Book," limited edition of 200 copies, hard cover, except for the first page all of the pages are duplicates, published with various color covers)

"The Hound of the Baskervilles" (also 1979, it was also sold as "The Sherlock Holmes Force Book," limited edition of 500 copies, hard cover, except for the first two pages all of the pages are duplicates, published with various color covers)

"The Sign of Four" (undated but postdating the two aforementioned "Sherlock Holmes Force Books," it was sold as "Telementary, Dr. Watson," hard cover, except for the first page it consisted entirely of three different blocks of duplicate pages numbered 36-37, 92-93 and 178-179 respectively, published with various color covers)

"The Untold Sherlock Holmes" (1983, sold as "Creations by Sam Schwartz" it is a genuine, readable hard cover book -- with dustjacket -- that has been written for use as a forcing book/book test as well, it relies on branching/interlocking anagrams to reveal force words on certain pages) although sold by Tannens and other dealers, it was produced by Magico.

"Sherlock Holmes and the Wood Green Empire" (1985, sold as "Two Minds by Himber and Becker" it is another genuine, readable hardcover book -- with dustjacket -- that has been written for use as a forcing book/book test as well, a participating audience member follows a convoluted procedure that appears random but actually results in forcing one of two words)

There is also what appears to be one of the Sherlock Holmes book by Val Andrews that is one of the three books provided with Terri Rogers "Master Key" book test published/marketed by Martin Breese. It is "Sherlock Holmes and the Houdini Birthright" which is a genuine, readable paperback; however, what is provided with the "Master Key" is merely the cover of the genuine book by Andrews placed on the actual contents the same specially gimmicked text as in the other two books (and which has nothing whatever to do with Sherlock Holmes and in which his name never even appears). Putting the Val Andrews cover on a different book was an easy matter Martin Breese as he is also the publisher of the genuine one as well -- and, presumably for some, if not all, of the other 20 or so Sherlock Holmes books by Andrews.
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Postby Q. Kumber » 11/02/09 03:34 PM

Martin Breese did publish a whole series of novels in the Sherlock Holmes genre, many of them by Val Andrews and many of those with a magical theme. Martin sold the rights elsewhere some years back.

I visited Val a few months before he died. He was working on a full script of the Dante show, compiled from his own notes, plus very detailed notes from another magician who had been a very big Dante fan. Val told me that the majority of illusionists he had seen did magic about 80% of the time and spoke 20% of the time. Dante, he said was the opposite. Unfortunately, as far as I know, the manuscript wasn't found after Val's passing.
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Postby Mark.Lewis » 11/02/09 05:24 PM

In my youth I met Dante's stage manager and he told me all sorts of stories about Dante. Maybe I should write the manuscript instead..........

I well remember mild mannered Val Andrews shouting and screaming at an American tourist in London. It was quite a revelation for me to see such a polite gentleman swearing and blaspheming at the said tourist who wasn't really doing anything wrong. I might tell the story if I am in the mood.

The moral of the tale is that you cannot judge people by their cover. There are people in this world who seem polite and nice on the surface but are not so nice underneath. I have met people like that in magic who are perfect gentlemen on the surface but are perfect sleazebags underneath. And of course the opposite applies too. You sometimes meet people who seem rough, nasty and horrible on the surface but in fact are very kind underneath it all.

Not that Val was a sleazebag of course. He was always nice enough to me. I just think he was having a bad day.
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