The well-researched The Witch of Lime Street documents the Spiritualism movement of the 1920s and the related contest sponsored by Scientific American with a focus on the role Harry Houdini played in it all. Houdini and many others spent much time disproving claims of those who purported to be mediums, but David Jaher writes of how the most time was spent testing Mina “Margery” Crandon, the wife of a Boston doctor. Jaher also includes how Houdini’s obsession with proving Margery to be a fraud put him at odds with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Jaher’s telling is a highly readable and revealing history of 1920s Spiritualism in America though it does get bogged down at times in the repetitive testing of Margery.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Crown.