BEST FACT CRIME
The Confidence Men: How Two Prisoners of War Engineered the Most Remarkable Escape in History by Margalit Fox (Random House Publishing Group – Random House)
From a description:
Imprisoned in a remote Turkish POW camp during World War I, having survived a two-month forced march and a terrifying shootout in the desert, two British officers, Harry Jones and Cedric Hill, join forces to bamboozle their iron-fisted captors. To stave off despair and boredom, Jones takes a handmade Ouija board and fakes elaborate séances for his fellow prisoners. Word gets around, and one day an Ottoman official approaches Jones with a query: Could Jones contact the spirit world to find a vast treasure rumored to be buried nearby? Jones, a trained lawyer, and Hill, a brilliant magician, use the Ouija board—and their keen understanding of the psychology of deception—to build a trap for their captors that will ultimately lead them to freedom.
Cedric Hill was indeed a magician, having become interested in conjuring after seeing Nate Leipzig as a boy in Australia. He came to Britain to join up after the war broke out, and remained there after armistice. He was a member of the Magic Circle from 1926 on. He wrote about the experience himself: The Spook and the Commandant (1975), and co-wrote with Jones The Road to En-Dor (1920).