In 1904 Edna Ferber is a nineteen-year-old girl reporter for the Appleton, Wisconsin ",Crescent,", an occupation that many townspeople, including her own family, consider scandalous for a proper young girl. By chance, she interviews Harry Houdini, in town visiting old friends. Houdini, as Ehrich Weiss, spent his boyhood years in the small town. When Frana Lempke, a beautiful young German high-school girl, disappears and is soon discovered murdered, Edna asks Houdini for help in solving the murder. The unusual crime baffles the local police because Frana mysteriously disappeared from a locked room at the high school. Houdini, the celebrated escape artist, takes a liking to Edna and agrees to help. But as Edna pursues the story, alienating any number of people, she senses that she is being followed. It's a troubling summer for her. Her homelike is in disorder, though she is dedicated to a blind father. Her mother and sister dislike her walking the streets as a reporter. Worse, the newsroom has become a hostile environment, with a new city editor determined to undermine her. Piecing together the clues, she comes to see that her own life in the small town is unraveling. As the future best-selling writer starts to solve the crime, she understands that her involvement will impact her life forever. In 1904 future best-selling writer Edna Ferber, then a nineteen-year-old fledgling reporter in Appleton, Wisconsin, teams up with famed escape artist Harry Houdini to solve the baffling murder of a beautiful young girl who has mysteriously disappeared from a locked room at the local high school.
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