A Collection of Drawing Room Deceptions and Other Card Conjuring or The Etiquette of Deception

by G.W.R. Hollingworth

Published by Mike Caveney's Magic Words

Reviewed by Anthony Owen

A Collection of Drawing Room Deceptions and Other Card Conjuring or The Etiquette of Deception by G.W.R. Hollingworth is a 311 page hardbacker which replicates the design of a turn of the magic book and contains over 150 illustrations by the author ('He can draw too!'). Split into six chapters, plus prologue, epilogue and 'interval' the book contains playing card material created by Guy, some of which has been previously released in lecture note and video tape form.

"It is not unreasonable to assume that a book on card conjuring should contain predominantly close up material." Writes Guy in his typically entertaining introduction to chapter one. "I would, however, contest that there is in reality very little opportunity to perform what could actually be termed "close-up" magic. At a small table in a restaurant, or for a couple of people at a reception, it is feasible, but in most other circumstances (a table that seats perhaps six or more people, or a larger group at a reception, even the supposed formal close-up show), close-up magic performed on a table top or at waist level cannot be seen by everyone present.'

Having stated his preference in these situations for "what would almost be called parlour magic" Guy leads into the routine which brought about his change in attitude: Waving the Aces, Guy's visual version of Dai Vernon's Twisting the Aces, one of the two items he featured in his performance on The World's Greatest Magic special broadcast in the USA three years ago. Also explained in chapter one are Waving the Aces II (Guy's original close-up version) and three other sequences utilising the same principle ("I firmly believe that on the odd occasion one has a good idea, one might as well make the most of it.").

Guy describes Chapter Two as requiring "I suspect, a little practice and, I am sure, a well-fitting jacket" as all the material in the chapter centres around a jacket: the penetration of four cards from a jacket pocket, a version of Vernon's Travellers, Ambidextrous Interchange (a multi-phase transposition routine introduced by Guy as a "monstrosity...I do not believe for one moment think that any member of the audience believes that what he is seeing is magic, but the routine does seem to constitute some other form of non-specific entertainment.") and a one card routine which he uses to demonstrate the "elaborate systems of conveyors and pulleys that operate within the [jacket] lining."

Chapter Three contains methods for controlling selections, an ace assembly and a delightful homing card routine which all rely upon a simple gimmick. This is one of my favourite chapters in the book.

Next comes a section entitled Interval and, again, it is best to allow Guy to describe it in his own words: "a chapter of what may well be described as eccentric moves, be as well accomplished with a double under-cut or a Svengali pack; nonetheless existence would be terribly boring if things were always achieved in the most straightforward way, and I have always felt there should still be a place for such manoeuvres, no matter how disparaging the working professional may be of them... for those prosaic readers who insist that there should be no place for idle impracticalities in a book such as this, now is the time to stretch your legs and buy an ice cream, before rejoining us for act two." Contents of this chapter include handlings for the shift, methods of controlling, palming, switching, false dealing and Guy's terrific false riffle shuffle.

Chapter Four contains three beautifully constructed extended routines with card cheating as their theme, all of which I have seen draw strong reactions when performed by Guy during his great one man show about Erdnase: 'Expert at the Card Table'.

Chapter Five details two terrific presentations for Guy's diabolically cunning Universal Card Scam, which should go down as one of the great simple methods of post-War card magic. This is my favourite chapter.

Chapter Six contains "a variety of oddments that refused to categorise themselves in spite of all my attempts" namely a very neat card under box routine which has the advantage of only requiring a small working space, an in-the-hands triumph handling and The Cassandra Quandary - an ultra-clean prediction effect named after a tragic mythological prophetess.

The Epilogue contains the full details of what Guy describes as "arguably my favourite trick, and that which has been kinder to me than any other, which has come to be called The Reformation." This is, of course, Guy's monumental torn and restored signed playing card in which all four corners 'fuse' back together. This is a beautiful piece of card magic and I hope that those of you who learn it will devote sufficient time so that you can do it justice.

Having got to know Guy reasonably well over the past six or seven years (hey, I was one of the three people present at the first ever performance of The Reformation!) I was more than aware of the devious methodology evident in this book, but what I wasn't prepared for, when I first read the manuscript earlier this year, was Guy's writing style. As, hopefully, the above quotes have illustrated, Guy has a wonderfully witty style which kept me laughing out loud from the devious prologue to the end page.

This is an important book and a true delight to read. 

(Reprinted from The Magic Circular, the house magazine of The Magic Circle, with permission of Editor, Anthony Owen.)


Anthony Owen August 2000