Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Review: MINKY WOODCOCK, THE GIRL WHO HANDCUFFED HOUDINI by Cynthia Von Buhler

Publisher Hard Case Crime / Titan Books
Length 128 pages
Format individual comics / trade
Published 2018
Series Minky Woodcock (#1-4)
My Copy I bought it


The creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle arrives at PI firm, Woodcock & Sons with one thing on his mind, to expose Harold Houdini for what he really is - a competitive and vindictive spiritual medium. Sir Doyle firmly believes Houdini has occult powers, after having witnessed him walk through a brick wall during one of his performances.


Sir Doyle is greeted by the firms secretary, Minky, her father, the PI being out of town, and the son, not really into the whole PI gig is elsewhere too.  Not wanting to hide in the shadows of her fathers footsteps, Minky Woodcock uses her sexuality and intellect as equally deadly weapons to win Sir Doyle over. 

However, the case soon turns sour when Minky learns that Houdini is anything but a 'spiritual medium', rather he's dedicated to debunking spiritualists, mediums and other fakes; A passion project for the popular escape artist after having outed Sir Doyle's favorite medium during an ill fated seance in which the medium claimed to have made a connection with Houdini's deceased mother.   

Minky manages to place herself inside Houdini's inner circle as an assistant and sometimes-friend to his wife Bess. It allows her to be close to Houdini but she misses a crucial moment which ultimately leads to the death of Houdini in sinister circumstances.

Who wields the murderous touch? A crew of spiritualists in England? A nurse who weaseled her way into Houdini's entourage? Or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself?  

The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini is a visual treat for fans of pulp art and a good old fashioned murder mystery. Author and artist, Cynthia Von Buhler's slice of noir is evocative and moody; art and writing creating a cohesive narrative across the 4 issues which span this story arc. 

My rating: 5/5 stars. PI Minky Woodcock is just what comics and the Hard Case Crime line need; a sexy yet dangerous private investigator complimented by strong dialogue and great art.

Note - I read Minky Woodcock, The Girl Who Handcuffed Houdini is single issue format as they were published and then again when the final installment was published. For me, the flow and overall narrative work better in a single sitting. 





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