Miles Kington: El Diablo's advice is, don't reveal the secrets of your tricks

My advice is: Do not saw a woman in half. It is against the law and very clumsy. I am sending you my booklet 'Forty Much Better Ways To Make a Woman Disappear'
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The Independent Online

I am bringing you an agony column today, but an agony column with a difference. All other agony columns have their problems dealt with by an agony aunt, using experience and common sense. This one uses magic, because our guest problem-solver today is none other than the well-known magician and conjuror, El Diablo. Welcome, Mr Diablo!

El Diablo says: Thank you. It is a great pleasure for me to be here today. First I wish to introduce my beautiful assistant, Norma. Say hello to the ladies and gentlemen, Norma.

Norma says: Hello, everybody.

El Diablo says: Thank you, Norma. Now, let us have the first problem, please.

Mrs P of Plaistow says: I have just discovered that my husband is leading a double life. He has to go to Doncaster a lot on business, and I have now learnt that he has another family there under the name of Harry Sticklow. What shall I do?

El Diablo says: Nothing. The desire to go under a pseudonym is universal. You, for instance, are not really "Mrs P of Plaistow", are you? You refer to me as El Diablo. You may be surprised to learn that that is not how I was christened. Norma, is Norma your real name?

Norma says: Yes.

El Diablo says: I am not surprised. It suits you. So there you have it, Mrs P.

Mrs P of Plaistow says: But what about the family in Doncaster!

El Diablo says: Be glad that it keeps him out of the way. Above all, do not reveal that you have seen how his little trick works. There is nothing worse than people seeing how the deception is done, and telling you about it. Believe me. Next!

Mr C of Colchester says: As a matter of interest, Mr Diablo, how DO you cut a woman in half?

El Diablo says: My friend, if I had a pound for every time I have been asked that question by a man with suffering in his eyes and evil intentions in his heart, I would be a rich man. In fact, I AM a rich man, so there. My advice to you is not to saw a woman in half. It is against the law and very clumsy. I am sending you a copy of my little booklet, Forty Much Better Ways To Make a Woman Disappear. Next!

Mrs Y of Harrogate says: I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that my husband is having an affair with another woman. He seems abstracted a lot of the time. He makes secret phone calls. He is away from the office at odd periods during the day. And the other night, in bed, he called me Gwendoline in his sleep.

El Diablo says: And what is your name?

Mrs Y says: Well, it is Gwendoline. But it was the way he said it. Sort of regretfully and sadly. So, how can I be sure whether he is being unfaithful or not?

El Diablo says: Mrs Y, having an affair is very much like doing a conjuring trick. It is an act of deception and disguise. You must convince the audience that nothing untoward is going on, while all the time mischief is happening! With a conjuror, it is going on under that handkerchief. With an affair, under the bedsheet! A cleverly conducted affair is like a seamless piece of conjuring. But a badly planned affair is like the rabbit that emerges too soon from the hat.

Mrs Y says: I suppose you're right. But how does this help me?

El Diablo says: It doesn't help you at all. It is merely my patter, to distract you from the fact that I am not solving your problem. So straight on to the next!

Mrs Z of Wimbledon says: How do I stop the magic going out of my marriage?

El Diablo says: Madame, you make the common mistake of thinking that magic is mysterious. It is not. It is very careful planning. In my case, to make sure the magic did not go out of my marriage, I carefully hired a lovely younger person always to do my bidding and look after my needs. Didn't I, Norma, darling?

Norma says: Yes, El.

El Diablo says: And you must do the same, Mrs Z.

El Diablo will be back soon to tackle more of your problems. Keep those intimate dilemmas rolling in!ç

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