Blaine conjures Villard deal

Magician to be frozen in ice for 3 days

NEW YORK — Next November, magician David Blaine will perform a trick in which he’s frozen in a block of ice for three days in Manhattan’s Central Park.

Villard Books is hoping he thaws in time to finish “Mysterious Stranger,” a book of magic how-to and history that the Random House imprint has just acquired in what’s rumored to be close to a seven-figure deal.

Blaine spent last week in a suite at Trump Tower performing tricks for representatives of 13 publishers before Villard preempted the book.

Puzzling possibility

Though Villard editorial director Bruce Tracy said it’s premature to discuss precisely what outline the book will have, he didn’t dismiss reports that it may contain an encrypted puzzle leading one lucky reader to a considerable monetary prize.

“How that might work is way too early to tell,” said Tracy. “But a big part of the book is David’s fascination with codes and cyphers.”

More magic

Other projects on the horizon for Blaine are two primetime ABC specials and a Broadway show opening next spring.

“Mysterious Stranger” will be published in the fall of 2001. The deal was negotiated on Blaine’s behalf by David Vigliano of Vigliano Associates and Endeavor.

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