Book on Harry Houdini Sold to Crown, Advance in the High Six Figures

Crown has acquired a non-fiction book by screenwriter David Jehar about the magician Harry Houdini, for an advance that Mr. Jehar said was in the “high six figures.”

Mr. Jehar, who was represented by literary agent Tina Bennett of Janklow & Nesbit, said his book will tell the story of Houdini’s campaign to discredit Margery Crandon, who made the front page of the New York Times in the 1920s as the first spiritual medium whose abilities had been verified by science.

The book, entitled The Witch of Lime Street, will be out in early 2010, Mr. Jehar said.

Crown editor Rick Horgan, who nabbed the book in a preempt, declined to comment.