May 18, 2010

Preview of Houdini Pie

We get e-mail:Dear Mr. Schmidt,

I read your piece from last August about Warren Schufelt and the Lizard People in L.A., and thought you might like to know about my new novel Houdini Pie, which is based precisely on that very weird chapter of Los Angeles history. First to introduce myself: I'm a writer in Seattle. I've been publishing short fiction for about fifteen years, in journals including Glimmer Train, New South, Fiction, the Southern Indiana Review, Harpur Palate and lots of others, and I've been fortunate to have won several national writing awards. My first novel, Houdini Pie, was released in April by Bennett & Hastings Publishers Publishing. I'd be delighted if you would consider mentioning it or even reviewing it in on your site.

A quick synopsis:

Houdini Pie is an outlandish, historic and essentially comic novel that draws on a true chapter from the dark days of Los Angeles during the Great Depression—an officially sanctioned hunt for mythical treasure supposedly buried deep beneath the City by an ancient tribe of Hopi lizard people. It follows the fortunes of a rag-tag assortment of would-be gold diggers including an out-sized semi-pro baseball player, his spiritualist mother, an unrepentant bootlegger, a reluctant psychic, a grandiose geologist, a greedy attorney and an ageless Hopi shaman. It is set amidst the bread lines and beet fields of the Los Angeles Valley and Ventura County, in the halls and haunts of the young City itself, beneath the bright lights of barnstorming baseball at its best and shoulder-to-shoulder with the inglorious poverty of 1930s America. With its roots in fact as much as folklore, it is a tall but plausible tale of greed, loyalty, mystery, deception and love.

I'd be happy to send you a copy if you'd like to have a look at it, or it's available from Amazon (what isn't?), from, or from your local bookseller.

All best,

Paul Michel
Comment:  Judging by the color scheme, a Houdini pie is something like a key lime or mint pie. <g>

I don't think the Hopi have shamans, ageless or otherwise. But this could be interesting. I'll have to check it out.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Books.

1 comment:

dmarks said...

A search on Hopi shaman brings up hundreds of thousands of hits. Not sure if it is a New Age fabrication or not, but the term is sometimes attached to authentic historic photos which might need looking into. Or, of course, a Hopi expert could add something here.