NEW YORK – Wanna win $100,000? You'd better hit the books.
Well, just one book: Mysterious Stranger by magician Blaine.
Blaine, known for such high-profile publicity stunts as being frozen in a block of ice and standing for 35 hours atop a 10-story column, has come up with yet another ploy for drawing attention to himself: an intricately planned treasure hunt.
Cryptic clues sprinkled throughout the book's glossy pages will lead the reader to a 25-karat, solid gold orb (made by Blaine and his jewelry designer/model girlfriend, Manon von Gerkan) and Blaine's cell phone number.
Dial it, and Blaine will show up with a check for $100,000. And you get to keep the $10,000 orb.
Of course, it's easier said than done.
The book -- which is part autobiography, part magician exposé and part tease -- came out nine days ago, and the Internet's already abuzz with speculation.
Though the book is filled with the secrets behind many of Blaine's notorious mind tricks, there's no magic spell that will conjure up the orb.
Not that Blaine isn't willing to give a hint or two.
Turn to page 200, he says, and Tetris-like shapes appear on a picture of Manhattan buildings.
"Turn them counterclockwise and look at the building at the bottom of the page and pretend that they're all capital letters, except they're cut in half," Blaine told The Post.
The letters seem to spell out "a wonderful," he says -- adding that the sentence ends with the word "peers."
Got it? If not, here's another hint: Try reading through Blaine's words.
An oddly written caption in the book describes the legendary P.T. Barnum as "innovative, nervy, audacious -- somewhat typical of New Englanders."
That turns out to be a bit of word play, Blaine says. "Take the first letter of each word and then it will tell what you have: I-N-A-STONE."
"This tells you that the gold orb is hidden in a stone and not buried," he continues. "It's resting on the ground in a stone in the continental United States. Anyone can drive there. It might be in Central Park; it might be in San Francisco."
His book also hints of a strong link between chess and magic.
"The further you plan ahead, the more effective your game or magic will be," Blaine writes.
Says The Post's chess columnist, Andy Soltis, "Solving this isn't about calculating. A chess master knows how to screen out the false leads. So I'd go through the book page by page and try to find the very few clues, maybe a half-dozen, that I suspect hold the key."
A former magician friend of Blaine's suggests that readers look elsewhere for clues.
In fact, says magician Steve Cohen, Blaine himself may have taken a leaf from the 1970s book Masquerade, by Kit Williams, which used paintings to suggest where readers might dig up a jewel hidden somewhere in England.
"It became an international sensation," says Cohen, who hosts a show called Chamber Magic at the Waldorf-Astoria.
Cohen, who used to be Blaine's magic coordinator (the two parted ways after a rift), says Blaine thought of the name of the book after reading a Mark Twain story called "Mysterious Stranger" about a wandering magician who happens to be Satan.
Cohen also suggests treasure hunters reread Edgar Allan Poe's story The Gold Bug, which describes a code that may teach you about transforming letters and symbols into words than can lead you to the treasure.
"Think simple rather than more challenging and complex," Cohen adds. "Sometimes, people are disappointed with the secrets because they are so simple. Look at words in the captions. The first letter of every column might spell something."
The 29-year-old Blaine says he was inspired by Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory -- the movie, not the book.
"I liked the whole idea that he had everyone going with golden tickets," says Blaine. "I wanted to create that with a book. It's everything that got me interested in magic."