Sherlock Holmes meets Harry Houdini, circa 1910--and, at least in the first half of Stashower's first novel, it's a breezier, more likable entertainment than most other such whimsies (Sherlock Holmes Meets Dracula, Sherlock Holmes Meets Jack the Ripper, etc.). The two men have an antagonistic first encounter--when Holmes attends a rehearsal of Houdini's London magic-show. . . and offers to explain just how the great escape-artist does his most formidable stunt. Soon, however, Holmes is sleuthing for Houdini--who has been accused of stealing some embarrassing papers (the Prince of Wales' love-letters to a German countess) from a royal vault; worse yet, the countess turns up dead in HH's dressing room! So, in order to clear Houdini's name, Holmes solves both crimes--while donning outlandish disguises, attending a seance, and tangling with Houdini's rivals. The later chapters here slide off into humdrum chases and confrontations; Stashower occasionally drops in smirky double-entendres and cutesy asides. But, overall, this is one of the better Holmes spinoffs--with an especially dim Watson as the source of some nice low-key humor.