Book Paints Escape-Artist Houdini As Spy:
A new biography of the legendary performer suggests that Houdini worked as a spy for Scotland Yard, monitored Russian anarchists and chased counterfeiters for the U.S. Secret Service - all before he was possibly murdered.
"The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero" will be released on Halloween - the anniversary of Houdini's untimely death at age 52. Chasing new information on the elusive superstar eventually led authors William Kalush and Larry Sloman to create a database of more than 700,000 pages.
"There's no way in the world we could have done this book without it," said Sloman of the huge electronic index. "It would have taken 30 years - maybe."
The biography lays out a scenario where Houdini, using his career as cover, managed to travel the United States and the world while collecting information for law enforcement. The authors made the link after reviewing a journal belonging to William Melville, a British spy master who mentioned Houdini several times.