Most magicians sneer at the “Svengali” as a trick deck of playing cards that is solely for kids and beginners. I imagine that most magicians have owned a Svengali
and played with one at some time in their magical experience. However, most would probably never consider performing with a such a deck. It’s just too well known among the lay public.
However, Mark Lewis, in his book, “The Long and The Short Of It,” explains some intriguing moves with a Svengali deck beyond the standard ones and offers a powerful routine. He also explains various effects that may be performed with a Svengali deck. While most of these can be done with a real deck and sleight of hand, they’re effective routines.
Lewis’ powerful routine not only uses the capabilities of the popular gimmicked deck but incorporates basic sleight-of-hand techniques to create a minor miracle. His routine is strong.
The book is a fast read and easy to understand, and throughout, offers clear illustrations that show you the necessary moves. I particularly liked the table spread that shows that the cards are different in a convincing way.
According to Lewis, one of his most well-received performances came from the routine in this book. And this was from an audience that had previously enjoyed his sleight-of-hand work with playing cards. (He had literally run out of material to show a group who often returned to his restaurant gig and finally resorted to his Svengali routine.)
The Long and the Short
Despite its subject matter, "The Long and Short of It" is not a beginner's book. It's a book that shows magician how to perform a strong routine that happens to use a Svengali deck.
There are probably few magicians out there who aspire to perform with a Svengali deck. But if you want to see the power and potential of mixing a great routine with some sleight of hand and the popular gimmicked deck, “The Long And The Short Of It” is worthwhile reading.
-Wayne N. Kawamoto
MSRP: (US) $25
Dealers can purchase from Murphy's Magic Supplies, Inc.