Memoirs of an Elusive Moth Review

by Dean Carnegie

I was quite excited when the mailman delivered a package to me yesterday containing a brand new book. The title, Memoirs of an Elusive Moth by Adele Friel Rhindress. I've mentioned Adele before in my blogs, but in case you don't know she worked with Harry Blackstone Sr. for several seasons. This book is about her adventures from that time period.

First thing I want to say, is it ok to give a book a standing ovation? I loved this book!!! For one, though it is about the Blackstone show, you really get the see the show through Adele's eyes. She has a number of her own adventures that she shares as well. I got a kick out of the 20 hour sleeping story. Actually, I enjoyed all the stories! I also had the honor of hearing a number of these stories in person last summer when I was in Pigeon Forge and Adele and I went to lunch one day.

She describes in the book, a letter that Harry Blackstone Sr. sent her about the new season and how he wanted her to come back to play the part of 'Blackstone's Elusive Moth ', a new routine they were creating specifically for Adele. I actually got to see the letter during our lunch last year. Also, Adele was a featured speaker during my 'Magic Detective' Session at KIDabra and she shared a couple stories about Harry Blackstone JR. that also appear in the book. But there are many things I had not heard before and she captures them so well. She talks about Del Ray and Nick Ruggerio as well as a number of her fellow female assistants in the show. Adele also shares stories about the non performing cast members and helps the reader to see how important each and every person is/was in the production of the stage spectacular known as Blackstone And His Show of 1001 Wonders!

Besides giving the reader a sense of what it was like traveling with the Blackstone show, she also gives a glimpse into her own life as well, which I was really happy to read. The book is about HER and her experiences and I'm so glad that she included some none magic history in there as well.

If you love history, get this book. If you know Adele, you must get this book. But if you just want to just read a book that will make you smile, then without a doubt get a copy of this wonderful book, The Memoirs of an Elusive Moth!

by Dean Carnegie


Dec.Nielsen Gallery Review (pdf file)

Oct. 2010 M.U.M. Review (pdf file)

Adele never saw the Blackstone Show ... SHE LIVED IT. Now is your chance!
Pack your bags, we're going on tour with Blackstone, the World's Greatest Magician!

Terry Evanswood

I had the feeling of a nice afternoon spent chatting with you the entire way through. Rare with a book. Great job!

Gail-Anne Bobik

Dear Adele,

Wonderful to see you and spend some time last night, and thanks so much for the beautiful book. A lovely, lovely monument to an era and Blackstone.


We hung on every word because you described your adventures in such detail that we felt that we were right there with you every step of the way. Your book is unique because it describes events from the point of view of a member of the cast. To my knowledge, this has never been done before, at least with an illusion show, and certainly not with an extravaganza that was performed by the premier magician of the era.

Dick and Joan Gustafson

I just finished reading a great book called Memoirs of an Elusive Moth. I couldn't put it down. It was like being on tour with Blackstone. You have a terrific writing style and now I know a lot more about you and Mr. B. I hope you sell out and do another printing ...

Edd Patterson

Well, you did it ... a wonderful book, charming, personal, a record for history and for your family ... you did a GREAT job and you will be remembered. I read it through in one sitting ... stayed up late!

William V. Rauscher

Dear Ms. Friel Rhindress,
The "Elusive Moth" is one of the best books I have ever read about magic (and I have been reading magic books over 50 years). The wonderful thing about the book is your insight into the personality of Blackstone and the operations of a large illusion show. If you are ever on a lecture tour, or if you are ever passing through Little Rock, Arkansas, for any reason, please let me know and I will see that our IBM Ring sponsors a lecture and/or appearance by you. Once again, I appreciate your insight and your enthusiasm. I never did see Blackstone, Sr., nor did I ever see Willard the Wizard (another magician totally dedicated to magic), but my impression has always been that their audiences felt they were performing real magic and were themselves magical. In the same way, your book is real magic and totally magical. I could not put it down, and I read it non-stop in one sitting.

Thank you.
Elson M. Bihm

A captivating book from start to finish! As told by one of Blackstone's assistants, Adele Friel Rhindress, this true story puts the reader behind the curtain of one of the greatest magic shows of all times. A delightfully entertaining "must read" for all ages!

Cathy Dowhy

Adele's Memoirs of an Elusive Moth is a wonderful trip into the magical past. With my magical background this trip was a huge visualization of the Blackstone era through the eyes and mind of Adele. I couldn't put the book down because it was an ongoing stage performance with twists and turns of a time period long ago. This trip was a train ride with Adele as an assistant to Blackstone and her role as the Famous Elusive Moth as well as a "box jumper" in Blackstone's traveling illusion show. I felt as if I was there as a backstage reporter seeing the life of Blackstone and his beautiful dancing girls. It's as if I could hear Adele telling the story in her own words as I read the book, imaging the laughter, pranks, and the joy she shared with us. I loved it!

Dennis Michael

Hi Adele,

I enjoyed reading your book so much that it reminded me that you and I happened to be on the same stage with Harry Blackstone when you appeared at the Colonial Theater in Boston in 1948. I was 17 at the time and was at that show. When Blackstone called for kids to come on the stage for the vanishing birdcage, I was one of 8 or 10 who scrambled up to put his hands on the cage. It vanished anyway. And so did Blackstone's Elusive Moth . I am so happy that you have returned to recount those days that are just a memory to most. You are a testimony of the greatness of the magic we will likely never see again.

Brad Jacobs
Your friend in magic,
S.A.M. Past President

Your book arrived in yesterday's mail. I started reading it last night and became so engrossed that I read the entire book! Thank you so much for writing and sharing your stories, you really gave some fantastic insight into what it was like working on such a show. I enjoyed it immensely.

Mike Rose

Just finished your book, it is an excellent window into the golden days of magic. Lots of inside info & insight. I liked reading about all the people that made the show function, esp, Del Ray 1 of my favorites.

Aurelio Pontarelli

This book was so popular at the convention that Adele sold out all of the books she had brought. Everyone I have spoken to about the book has loved it. Congratulations Adele.

Mike Snyder & Donna

I too, loved Adele's Memoirs. What a brave thing it was for a very young woman to leave her home for this great adventure. The Show of 1000 Wonders came to life for me. All the details, planning and costumes, and the interesting!

Marcy Klutchka

Adele, it was wonderful seeing you in L.A. I read your book on the plane home. It's absolutely wonderful! It painted such a vivid picture of what it was really like to be a magic assistant in a big, famous touring show. I loved every second of it.

Margaret Steele