Golden Age of Magic...

...stage magic, that is. Anyone with even a passing interest in the magicians of the 1920s (or anyone who just wants to read a good historical mystery) should try out Carter Beats the Devil, by Glen David Gold. The action starts when Warren Harding (generally considered to be the worst president in American history) is torn apart (then eaten, by a lion, on stage, in front of a live audience) during a trick called "Carter Beats the Devil", performed by the famous magician Carter the Great. Though it is revealed to be just a another clever illusion (and the President is clearly seen walking off stage after), Harding is found dead a few hours later, and the police would like to have a word or two with Carter...

The novel focuses on the life and times of Charles Carter, so-called Carter the Great. It starts in 1923, but the plot jumps both forward (as time progresses) and back (though flashbacks). Why should you read it? For starters, it's not a bad introduction to some of the more interesting characters of the 1920s (my favorite being: Philo Farnsworth, who invented the Television when he was 14). Gold takes some creative liscense with some of the historical characters, but it's all in good fun. Which brings us to the main reason you should read the book: it's a lot of fun. If you learn something, all the better.