Saturday, August 5, 2017

It Is, Indeed, All About Smoke and Mirrors

By Evangeline Barnum from “Smoke and Mirrors,” Book #1 of the Miss Barnum Mystery Series by Casey Daniels

New York City, 1842

If there is one thing I have learned from my brother, PT Barnum, it is the power of promotion and publicity.

Surely you must agree with me because no matter where you live, no matter who you are, or what commerce occupies your day, I know you have heard of Phin.  He is, after all, the owner and proprietor of Barnum’s American Museum here in the city of New York and the museum hosts more than 15,000 visitors each day.

This fame (and the fortune that follows it) did not happen by accident.  Though it is not common knowledge and I ask you to keep it to yourself, you should know that it was Phin himself who wrote to newspapers far and wide across this country to announce that astounding and marvelous find, the Feejee Mermaid.  Yes, it is true, Phin signed various names to those letters, each man proclaiming himself to be an eminent scientist, each one telling the readers of those newspapers that they had to come see the most astonishing scientific find ever.

It worked.  These days when we open the museum at eight each morning, there is a line out on Broadway, eager customers anxious to come up to our second floor Portrait Gallery to see our mermaid.

Promotion.  It is all about promotion.

And that is exactly why I am writing to you three months in advance of when “Smoke and Mirrors,” the story of my first adventure as curator of Phin’s museum, is published.  The book, you see, is coming out in hardcover, and though it is easy to see why people pay their 25 cents to enter Phin’s museum, I do understand that it can often be hard to pay the money it costs for a hardcover book.

One of the best ways to assure you will be able to read the book is to get it at your library.  I have attached here a form you can copy and fill out and turn in at your library to request that they order the book.  In it, you will hear the story of what I like to call the Feejee Mermaid Murders.

A myth dispelled: My brother never did say, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”  He is, however, known to have said, “Every crowd has a silver lining.”

A crowd of libraries ordering “Smoke and Mirrors” would be a very good thing, indeed!

Library Patron Request

Please order a copy of the following book:

Title:  Smoke and Mirrors

Author: Casey Daniels

ISBN:  978-0727887252

Publisher: Severn House

My name is _______________________________________

My phone number is _______________________________

My library card number is ____________________________


  1. I just asked Thea at the library here in Blue Plum, TN, to get it, and then I let Janet Marsh in Inversgail, Scotland, know about it so she can order it in for Yon Bonnie Books. And in real life, our author Molly requested it through her library in Illinois. Yay! Looking forward to this new series!

  2. This looks like a great idea for a series.

  3. I have a particular affection for Barnum, since two of his stars, Tom Thumb and his lovely wife Lavinia, once lived in my current town (she and her family came from this town). They built themselves a house here, tailored to their size. It's in private hands, but the town does have a Tom Thumb Museum with various artifacts.

  4. Interesting stuff. PT Barnum paid his performers very well and when they retired, a number of them were able to build grand houses and hire staff. Tom Thumb, I think, was the most famous of them all.

  5. The museum was certainly a fascinating place.

  6. And that "fascinating" comment was supposed to go under Annette's post. Don't ask me why it didn't!

  7. What a great idea to encourage readers to ask their library to order your book. I get most of the books I read from the library and I know they listen to reader requests. I'll ask Ramsey County Library (ST Paul MN) to order a copy when I go later this week.