Thursday, March 30, 2023

Spotlight of Houdini's Fabulous Magic by Gabe Fajuri


PHOTO SOURCE:
TYPORAMA

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HOUDINI'S FABULOUS MAGIC
GABE FAJURI
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ALL INFORMATION IN THIS POST IS COURTESY OF NICOLE PYLES.
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WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR

OF

Houdini's Fabulous Magic

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 Vine Leaves Press
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PRAISE FOR HOUDINI'S FABULOUS MAGIC:

Teller of Penn & Teller says: "I've loved this books for sixty years. My first copy was borrowed from the Philadelphia Public Library when I was fourteen, and I kept renewing the loan till I could afford to own my own copy.  Houdini's Fabulous Magic has just the right blend of history, technical secrets, and romance to fire the passion of a young magician.  Four pieces of the Penn & Teller repertoire were directly inspired by Houdini's Fabulous Magic--four times more than any other book in my library".


John Cox in his "Wild About Harry" website (​Wildabouthoudini.com) and blog said of the earlier editionsHoudini's Fabulous Magic by Walter B. Gibson and Morris N. Young is the best forgotten Houdini book. I say that because when one thinks of books on Houdini's methods, one tends to turn to Houdini The Key by Patrick Culliton, The Secrets of Houdini by J.C. Cannel, or even Gibson's earlier work, Houdini's Escapes and Magic. Maybe because Fabulous Magic contains some reprinted material from the earlier Gibson book it tends to be thought of as a somewhat recycled work. But it's actually one of the very best books on Houdini's major feats and methods and maybe the best book for the layperson. It also contains historical tidbits that aren't found elsewhere. So let's remember it today!"

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ABOUT HOUDINI'S FABULOUS MAGIC:

Incredible escapes, fantastic sleight-of-hand-Houdini's most challenging performances are dramatically portrayed in Houdini's Fabulous Magic. Walter Gibson, co-author, was in close touch with Harry Houdini for a number of years before his death and worked with the master magician in preparing material for the book. It is with the aid of Houdini's own scrapbooks and notes that this book was written.


The spectacular highlights of Houdini's career are described-and explained-here. Included are the famous escapes: escapes from a padlocked milk can filled with water; from locked jail cells; from a water-filled Chinese torture cell while suspended upside down; from packing cases weighted under water. Again, in this book, Houdini walks through a brick wall, vanishes a 10,000-pound elephant and is buried alive. Once more, Houdini and his wife Bessie mysteriously exchange places in a locked trunk-in three seconds!


And Houdini the man is not ignored. His impact on the world in the early years of the twentieth century was enormous. He was a public hero who, in his own way, helped sweep out the cobwebs of nineteenth-century thinking. While doing so, he distinguished himself as a patriot, writer, collector of magic, aviator, movie idol, philanthropist, and crusader against fraudulent spiritualistic practices.


This is a technical manual for magicians, complete with illustrations and diagrams, but it is also an astute analysis of the best of Houdini's magic and a readable biography of a man who turned himself into a legend. It is a book for would-be conjurers, for professional necromancers, for those curious about the methods and means of one of the most enchanting men of the previous century.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS:


Walter B. Gibson (1897-1985)

 

Walter, a graduate of Colgate University, was a prolific writer including The Shadow novels under his pen name Maxwell Grant. 

 

For a time he was Houdini's personal secretary. Following Houdini's death, the attorney for the estate permitted Walter to examine many of Houdini's private scrapbooks and notes from which Gibson wrote Houdini's Magic and Houdini's Escapes

 

Houdini's scrapbooks, papers and other documents form the background for Houdini's Fabulous Magic. 

 

Also a magician, Walter toured with and wrote for magicians such as Blackstone (Sr.), Thurston and Raymond. 

 

He was a member of the Mystery Writers of America, the American Society for Psychical Research, the Magician's Guild of America and the Magician's Club of London.


Morris N. Young, M.D. (1909-2002)

 

Morris, a graduate of M.I.T., Harvard and Columbia University was Director of Ophthalmology at Beekman Downtown Hospital in New York City. Aside from his numerous professional memberships, he was a member of the Society of American Magicians (to which Houdini had helped him join as a young man), the International Brotherhood of Magicians and a member of the Inner Circle of the Magic Circle (London). 

 

He was a founder of the Magic Collectors Association including their publication MAGICOL

 

Along with his wife Chesley, he established the largest private holdings on memory and mnemonics which now resides at the University of San Marino. 

 

Along with his friend John McManus, in 1955 they established the McManus-Young Collections at the Library of Congress, The University of Texas, Austin and the University of California in Berkeley.  

 

Morris' other book publications include Hobby Magic, Houdini on Magic (with Walter Gibson), Presto Prestige, Bibliography of Memory, How To Develop An Exceptional Memory (with Walter Gibson), The Complete Guide to Science Fair Competition (with John Stolzfus) and Radio Music Live (with John Stolzfus).


You can visit the website created by Morris N. Young's children, Charles C. Young and Cheryl L. Young: https://www.musicmagicandmore.com/

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Purchase a copy of Houdini's Fabulous Magic on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Bookshop.org

 

You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The Echo of Old Books by Barbara Davis

Finding books that have no author had Ashlyn on a mission to find out who had written these treasures about a love story gone wrong.

Ashlyn owns a bookstore called THE UNLIKELY STORY filled with rare books.

She also has a rare but special feeling about books.  When she touches certain books, she can feel what the person who last held the book was feeling.  She wasn’t sure if it was a detriment or a blessing.

We follow Ashlyn as she reads these book and tries to find out who these people are/were. 

At first I was very confused as to what was going on, but when I figured it out, I couldn't put the book down.

I enjoyed the present-day chapters as Ashlyn was unraveling the mystery and enjoyed the past stories as we learn how the books told actual stories of real people's lives.
 
THE ECHO OF OLD BOOKS has the imaginative, descriptive, pull-you-in writing style Ms. Davis excels at.

You will be in for a treat...don't miss it.

It is marvelous as always. 

And look at that GORGEOUS cover!!  5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.



Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Hang The Moon by Jeannette Walls

Duke Kincaid was someone you didn't want to cross.  He always had to have his way.

Well...his second wife had him not getting his way and having him send away his daughter, Sallie, because his wife said she caused her son to have a terrible accident.

Sallie went to live with her Aunt for nine years…yes, nine years...he never allowed her to come back until his wife died because he needed her to take care of the child who had no mother.

It was an ok return, but not until Sallie asked to be part of the business did her father think she was good for something other than being a man's wife.

Then Eddie died, and things changed.

HANG THE MOON was well written as all of Ms. Wall’s books are.

You will love Sallie for her strength and how she grew as the story unfolded.

It got a bit slow at times, but the story line still held my interest with all its drama.  

This book will be enjoyed by those who like books about prohibition, family, and Ms. Wall’s books. 4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.





Spotlight of Curds of Prey by Korina Moss


PHOTO SOURCE:
TYPORAMA

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CURDS OF PREY
KORINA MOSS
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ALL INFORMATION IN THIS POST IS COURTESY OF SARA LACOTTI | PUBLICITY | ST. MARTIN'S PRESS

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Korina Moss's third book in the Cheese Shop Mystery series, CURDS OF PREY

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St. Martin’s Paperbacks
March 28, 202
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PRAISE FOR CURDS OF PREY:

“A series that readers will be eager to revisit.” First Clue

“Readers will love the cheese shop employees, Mrs. Schultz and Archie, as well as Willa’s neighbor, Baz.”    Kings River Life

“A highly likable character and a good sleuth.”  Fresh Fiction

“Riveting.”  Military Press

“Aside from the insane amount of cheese, the characters in this series are the main reason why it’s fast becoming a favorite.” Book Frolic

“Willa is just a realistic character, one you can see as your friend, but also one with relationship and business concerns. I highly recommend this series to fans of culinary mysteries.” Novels Alive

“Prepare to be charmed.”  Carolyn Haines

“Deliciously addictive." —Bree Baker

“A fabulous heroine." —Cate Conte

“Winning.”  Maddie Day

“Willa charmed me to the core.” —Linda Reilly

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ABOUT CURDS OF PREY:

In Korina Moss's Curds of Prey, murder again comes to Yarrow Glen, and cheesemonger Willa Bauer must be the predator… before she becomes the prey.

Yarrow Glen's favorite cheese shop, Curds & Whey, gets to be a part of the social event of the season: Summer Harrington’s wedding. Cheesemonger Willa Bauer is going all out for the wedding shower’s cheese bar. 

But the eagle-eyed Harrington family is proving to be a pain in her asiago

A last-minute tasting ends in disaster when one of Willa’s potential beaux, Roman, gets in a fight with the groom. 

Then the shower arrives, and while there’s anything but love in the air, there is plenty of cheese. Oh, and Roman... again. 

The day officially ends in disaster when Willa finds the groom—who also happens to be the mayor’s nephew—in the stable, dead as a dodo. 

At the mayor’s request, Willa must follow the trail of cheese curds to find a killer while continuing to walk a tightrope between two of Sonoma Valley’s most powerful families.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photo Credit: Harrison Moss

KORINA MOSS is the author of the Agatha Award nominated Cheese Shop cozy mystery series (St. Martin’s Paperbacks) set in the Sonoma Valley, beginning with Cheddar Off Dead
 
Korina is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, and blogs on Writers Who Kill. 
 
Visit her website to learn more and sign up for her free newsletter.
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Monday, March 27, 2023

Spotlight of The Perfumist of Paris by Alka Joshi

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THE PERFUMIST OF PARIS
ALKA JOSHI
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ALL INFORMATION IN THIS POST IS COURTESY OF JUSTINE SHA | PUBLICITY MANAGER - PARK ROW BOOKS, HANOVER SQUARE PRESS, MIRA BOOKS, GRAYDON HOUSE, INKYARD PRESS.
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From the author of Reese's Book Club Pick The Henna Artist, the final chapter in Alka Joshi’s New York Times bestselling Jaipur trilogy takes readers to 1970s Paris, where Radha’s budding career as a perfumer must compete with the demands of her family and the secrets of her past.

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March 28, 2023

MIRA Books

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ABOUT THE PERFUMIST OF PARIS:

Paris, 1974. Radha is now living in Paris with her husband, Pierre, and their two daughters. 

She still grieves for the baby boy she gave up years ago, when she was only a child herself, but she loves being a mother to her daughters, and she’s finally found her passion—the treasure trove of scents.

She has an exciting and challenging position working for a master perfumer, helping to design completely new fragrances for clients and building her career one scent at a time. 

She only wishes Pierre could understand her need to work. 

She feels his frustration, but she can’t give up this thing that drives her.

Tasked with her first major project, Radha travels to India, where she enlists the help of her sister, Lakshmi, and the courtesans of Agra—women who use the power of fragrance to seduce, tease and entice. 

She’s on the cusp of a breakthrough when she finds out the son she never told her husband about is heading to Paris to find her—upending her carefully managed world and threatening to destroy a vulnerable marriage.

The Jaipur Trilogy

Book 1: The Henna Artist
Book 2: The Secret Keeper of Jaipur
Book 3: The Perfumist of Paris

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EXCERPT OF THE PERFUMIST OF PARIS:

Paris

September 2, 1974

I pick up on the first ring; I know it’s going to be her. She always calls on his birthday. Not to remind me of the day he came into this world but to let me know I’m not alone in my remembrance.

“Jiji?” I keep my voice low. I don’t want to wake Pierre and the girls.

“Kaisa ho, choti behen?” my sister says. I hear the smile in her voice, and I respond with my own. It’s lovely to hear Lakshmi’s gentle Hindi here in my Paris apartment four thousand miles away. I’d always called her Jiji—big sister—but she hadn’t always called me choti behen. It was Malik who addressed me as little sister when I first met him in Jaipur eighteen years ago, and he wasn’t even related to Jiji and me by blood. He was simply her apprentice. My sister started calling me choti behen later, after everything in Jaipur turned topsy-turvy, forcing us to make a new home in Shimla.

Today, my sister will talk about everything except the reason she’s calling. It’s the only way she’s found to make sure I get out of bed on this particular date, to prevent me from spiraling into darkness every year on the second of September, the day my son, Niki, was born.

She started the tradition the first year I was separated from him, in 1957. I was just fourteen. Jiji arrived at my boarding school with a picnic, having arranged for the headmistress to excuse me from classes. We had recently moved from Jaipur to Shimla, and I was still getting used to our new home. I think Malik was the only one of us who adjusted easily to the cooler temperatures and thinner air of the Himalayan mountains, but I saw less of him now that he was busy with activities at his own school, Bishop Cotton.

I was in history class when Jiji appeared at the door and beckoned me with a smile. As I stepped outside the room, she said, “It’s such a beautiful day, Radha. Shall we take a hike?” I looked down at my wool blazer and skirt, my stiff patent leather shoes, and wondered what had gotten into her. She laughed and told me I could change into the clothes I wore for nature camp, the one our athletics teacher scheduled every month. I’d woken with a heaviness in my chest, and I wanted to say no, but one look at her eager face told me I couldn’t deny her. She’d cooked my favorite foods for the picnic. Makki ki roti dripping with ghee. Palak paneer so creamy I always had to take a second helping. Vegetable korma. And chole, the garbanzo bean curry with plenty of fresh cilantro.

That day, we hiked Jakhu Hill. I told her how I hated math but loved my sweet old teacher. How my roommate, Mathilde, whistled in her sleep. Jiji told me that Madho Singh, Malik’s talking parakeet, was starting to learn Punjabi words. She’d begun taking him to the Community Clinic to amuse the patients while they waited to be seen by her and Dr. Jay. “The hill people have been teaching him the words they use to herd their sheep, and he’s using those same words now to corral patients in the waiting area!” She laughed, and it made me feel lighter. I’ve always loved her laugh; it’s like the temple bells that worshippers ring to receive blessings from Bhagwan.

When we reached the temple at the top of the trail, we stopped to eat and watched the monkeys frolicking in the trees. A few of the bolder macaques eyed our lunch from just a few feet away. As I started to tell her a story about the Shakespeare play we were rehearsing after school, I stopped abruptly, remembering the plays Ravi and I used to rehearse together, the prelude to our lovemaking. When I froze, she knew it was time to steer the conversation into less dangerous territory, and she smoothly transitioned to how many times she’d beat Dr. Jay at backgammon.

“I let Jay think he’s winning until he realizes he isn’t,” Lakshmi grinned.

I liked Dr. Kumar (Dr. Jay to Malik and me), the doctor who looked after me when I was pregnant with Niki—here in Shimla. I’d been the first to notice that he couldn’t take his eyes off Lakshmi, but she’d dismissed it; she merely considered the two of them to be good friends. And here he and my sister have been married now for ten years! He’s been good for her—better than her ex-husband was. He taught her to ride horses. In the beginning, she was scared to be high off the ground (secretly, I think she was afraid of losing control), but now she can’t imagine her life without her favorite gelding, Chandra.

So lost am I in memories of the sharp scents of Shimla’s pines, the fresh hay Chandra enjoys, the fragrance of lime aftershave and antiseptic coming off Dr. Jay’s coat, that I don’t hear Lakshmi’s question. She asks again. My sister knows how to exercise infinite patience—she had to do it often enough with those society ladies in Jaipur whose bodies she spent hours decorating with henna paste.

I look at the clock on my living room wall. “Well, in another hour, I’ll get the girls up and make their breakfast.” I move to the balcony windows to draw back the drapes. It’s overcast today, but a little warmer than yesterday. Down below, a moped winds its way among parked cars on our street. An older gentleman, keys jingling in his palm, unlocks his shop door a few feet from the entrance to our apartment building. “The girls and I may walk a ways before we get on the M├ętro.”

“Won’t the nanny be taking them to school?”

Turning from the window, I explain to Jiji that we had to let our nanny go quite suddenly and the task of taking my daughters to the International School has fallen to me.

“What happened?”

It’s a good thing Jiji can’t see the color rise in my cheeks. It’s embarrassing to admit that Shanti, my nine-year-old daughter, struck her nanny on the arm, and Yasmin did what she would have done to one of her children back in Algeria: she slapped Shanti. Even as I say it, I feel pinpricks of guilt stab the tender skin just under my belly button. What kind of mother raises a child who attacks others? Have I not taught her right from wrong? Is it because I’m neglecting her, preferring the comfort of work to raising a girl who is presenting challenges I’m not sure I can handle? Isn’t that what Pierre has been insinuating? I can almost hear him say, “This is what happens when a mother puts her work before family.” I put a hand on my forehead. Oh, why did he fire Yasmin before talking to me? I didn’t even have a chance to understand what transpired, and now my husband expects me to find a replacement. Why am I the one who must find the solution to a problem I didn’t cause?

My sister asks how my work is going. This is safer ground. My discomfort gives way to excitement. “I’ve been working on a formula for Delphine that she thinks is going to be next season’s favorite fragrance. I’m on round three of the iteration. The way she just knows how to pull back on one ingredient and add barely a drop of another to make the fragrance a success is remarkable, Jiji.”

I can talk forever about fragrances. When I’m mixing a formula, hours can pass before I stop to look around, stretch my neck or step outside the lab for a glass of water and a chat with Celeste, Delphine’s secretary. It’s Celeste who often reminds me that it’s time for me to pick up the girls from school when I’m between nannies. And when I do have someone to look after the girls, Celeste casually asks what I’m serving for dinner, reminding me that I need to stop work and get home in time to feed them. On the days Pierre cooks, I’m only too happy to stay an extra hour before finishing work for the day. It’s peaceful in the lab. And quiet. And the scents—honey and clove and vetiver and jasmine and cedar and myrrh and gardenia and musk—are such comforting companions. They ask nothing of me except the freedom to envelop another world with their essence. My sister understands. She told me once that when she skated a reed dipped in henna paste across the palm, thigh or belly of a client to draw a Turkish fig or a boteh leaf or a sleeping baby, everything fell away—time, responsibilities, worries.

My daughter Asha’s birthday is coming up. She’s turning seven, but I know Jiji won’t bring it up. Today, my sister will refrain from any mention of birthdays, babies or pregnancies because she knows these subjects will inflame my bruised memories. Lakshmi knows how hard I’ve worked to block out the existence of my firstborn, the baby I had to give up for adoption. I’d barely finished grade eight when Jiji told me why my breasts were tender, why I felt vaguely nauseous. I wanted to share the good news with Ravi: we were going to have a baby! I’d been so sure he would marry me when he found out he was going to be a father. But before I could tell him, his parents whisked him away to England to finish high school. I haven’t laid eyes on him since. Did he know we’d had a son? Or that our baby’s name is Nikhil?

I wanted so much to keep my baby, but Jiji said I needed to finish school. At thirteen, I was too young to be a mother. What a relief it was when my sister’s closest friends, Kanta and Manu, agreed to raise the baby as their own and then offered to keep me as his nanny, his ayah. They had the means, the desire and an empty nursery. I could be with Niki all day, rock him, sing him to sleep, kiss his peppercorn toes, pretend he was all mine. It took me only four months to realize that I was doing more harm than good, hurting Kanta and Manu by wanting Niki to love only me.

When I was first separated from my son, I thought about him every hour of every day. The curl on one side of his head that refused to settle down. The way his belly button stuck out. How eagerly his fat fingers grasped the milk bottle I wasn’t supposed to give him. Having lost her own baby, Kanta was happy to feed Niki from her own breast. And that made me jealous—and furious. Why did she get to nurse my baby and pretend he was hers? I knew it was better for him to accept her as his new mother, but still. I hated her for it.

I knew that as long as I stayed in Kanta’s house, I would keep Niki from loving the woman who wanted to nurture him and was capable of caring for him in the long run. Lakshmi saw it, too. But she left the decision to me. So I made the only choice I could. I left him. And I tried my best to pretend he never existed. If I could convince myself that the hours Ravi Singh and I spent rehearsing Shakespeare—coiling our bodies around each other as Othello and Desdemona, devouring each other into exhaustion—had been a dream, surely I could convince myself our baby had been a dream, too.

And it worked. On every day but the second of September.

Ever since I left Jaipur, Kanta has been sending envelopes so thick I know what they contain without opening them: photos of Niki the baby, the toddler, the boy. I return each one, unopened, safe in the knowledge that the past can’t touch me, can’t splice my heart, can’t leave me bleeding.

The last time I saw Jiji in Shimla, she showed me a similar envelope addressed to her. I recognized the blue paper, Kanta’s elegant handwriting—letters like g and y looping gracefully—and shook my head. “When you’re ready, we can look at the photos together,” Jiji said.

But I knew I never would.

Today, I’ll make it through Niki’s seventeenth birthday in a haze, as I always do. I know tomorrow will be better. Tomorrow, I’ll be able to do what I couldn’t today. I’ll seal that memory of my firstborn as tightly as if I were securing the lid of a steel tiffin for my lunch, making sure that not a drop of the masala dal can escape.

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Excerpted from The Perfumist of Paris by Alka Joshi © 2023 by Alka Joshi, used with permission from HarperCollins/MIRA Books.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

PHOTO CREDIT:  Garry Bailey

Born in India and raised in the U.S. since she was nine, Alka Joshi has a BA from Stanford University and an MFA from California College of Arts. Joshi's debut novel, The Henna Artist,  immediately became a NYT bestseller, a Reese Witherspoon Bookclub pick, was Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, & is in development as a TV series. 

 

Her second novel, The Secret Keeper of Jaipur (2021), is followed by The Perfumist of Paris (2023). 

 

Find her online at www.alkajoshi.com.

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SOCIAL LINKS:


Author Website: www.alkajoshi.com


Twitter: @alkajoshi

 

Facebook: @alkajoshi2019

 

Instagram: @thealkajoshi

 

Goodreads: https://tinyurl.com/bdew7w5w


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BUY LINKS:


Harlequin 

 

Indiebound


Amazon


Barnes & Noble 

 

Books-A-Million


Target


Google


Apple


Kobo

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