Imprisoned in a remote Turkish POW camp during World War I, having survived a two-month forced march and a terrifying shootout in the desert, two British officers, Harry Jones and Cedric Hill, join forces to bamboozle their iron-fisted captors. To stave off despair and boredom, Jones takes a handmade Ouija board and fakes elaborate séances for his fellow prisoners. Word gets around, and one day an Ottoman official approaches Jones with a query: Could Jones contact the spirit world to find a vast treasure rumored to be buried nearby? Jones, a trained lawyer, and Hill, a brilliant magician, use the Ouija board—and their keen understanding of the psychology of deception—to build a trap for their captors that will ultimately lead them to freedom.
Considered one of the foremost explanatory writers and literary stylists in American journalism, Margalit Fox retired in June 2018 from a 24-year-career at the New York Times, where she was most recently a senior writer. As a member of the newspaper’s celebrated obituary news department, she has written the Page One sendoffs of some of the best-known cultural figures of our era, including the pioneering feminist Betty Friedan, the writer Maya Angelou, the poets Seamus Heaney and Adrienne Rich, the children’s author Maurice Sendak and the advice columnists Dear Abby and Ann Landers. She has also written the obituaries of many of the unsung heroes who have managed, quietly, to touch history, among them the inventors of the Frisbee, the crash-test dummy, the plastic lawn flamingo and the bar code. She is the author of four books including, most recently, The Confidence Men, Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World’s Most Famous Detective Writer. Before joining the obituary department at the Times in 2004, she spent ten years as a staff editor at the New York Times Book Review. Fox lives in Manhattan.