Deal Me In, Week 29 ~ “Every Mystery Unexplained”


Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis

“Every Mystery Unexplained” by Lisa Mason

Card picked: Five of Spades

From: Tales of the Impossible, edited by David Copperfield and Janet Berliner


Magician “Professor” Flint ends each performance by endeavoring to contact the Spirits of the Dead. An illusion only, of course. Surely, the audience knows that the white handkerchief dancing around the stage is the work of Flint’s assistants, not spirits. His sword fight with an apparition is only a matter of a well-placed pane of glass and proper lighting. No one can really contact the dead. Unfortunately, when lovely Zena Troubetzskoy offers the down-on-their-luck magic act a fat payment for a seance, Flint and his son, Daniel, can’t say no. But, there is more to Zena and the man she wishes to contact, the man she left in the mountains, than meets the eye.

This is the type of story I was hoping for from these anthologies: a blend of fiction and magic history. The setting is 1895 San Francisco . Professor Flint and his act have been trekking westward through cow-towns, rail-road towns, and mining towns, complete with horses, wagons, and misfortunes. Quite similar to Howard Thurston’s tour of, as Mason puts it, the far West. The story is a nice juxtaposition between the magic ethos and spiritualism ethos and the Victorian era and the Old West. Mason knows her magic history (the title is from a Harry Kellar quote) and she knows San Francisco. I kind of saw where the plot was going, but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story.

About the Author:

I’d never heard of Lisa Mason before this story. Her writing seems to include time-travel and cyberpunk stories set in San Francisco past, present, and future. She bibliography doesn’t extend past 2000 according to Wikipedia, but much of her back-catalog is available via Amazon and the like.

Is This Your Card?

I don’t have a card trick for the Five of Spades, but the story makes mention of the blue room illusion. This is a modern staging, I believe constructed for this TV special by Jim Steinmeyer.

8 thoughts on “Deal Me In, Week 29 ~ “Every Mystery Unexplained”

  1. Dale

    For me, knowing where a story is going but still enjoying it is the mark of a good story. The history aspect of this one sounds interesting. And I think it’s got a great title.

    1. Katherine Nabity Post author

      Yeah. In contrast, I recently read a few short stories that were had twist endings, but not much story. That just doesn’t work.

      It is a really good title. It comes from a quote by Harry Kellar about three things that beginner magicians should keep in mind: Practice, ensure that your act some artistic quality, and “leave every mystery unexplained.”

  2. Pingback: Deal Me In – Week 29 Wrap Up | Bibliophilopolis

  3. Jay

    I was unfamiliar with Howard Thurston so looked him up. He was born on… July 20th. Now there’s a neat coincidence.

    I hadn’t heard of Lisa Mason before either. Think I’ll have to keep an eye out for her now.


    Thank you for your review, Katherine, and for the lovely video (which fits the story so well and actually made me cry, but I’m like that). I’ve been publishing science fiction, fantasy, and romantic suspense for a long time and continue to do so, except for some years when I was off writing movie screenplays. Please visit me at and “Every Mystery Unexplained” is available as an ebook on all readers worldwide at Kindle:, Barnes and Noble,, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo Please visit me at and


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