I like do head down unbeaten paths sometimes. The Rise of the Indian Rope Trick by Peter Lamont is a thorughly researched but popularly written book first published in 2004. It interestingly charts the history of what is often thought of as the best known magic trick of all. Fact being stranger than fiction the story is not quite what one might think. It does give some sort of explanation as to what the trick is but that is not where the intertest really lies. The Wikipedia article here is good but the links I tried were out of date.
Lamont's personal website is here.