Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Detecting Team in London's Era of the Psychic "Craze"

Lisa Tuttle
Randon House Hydra
May 16, 2017

We first meet Miss Aphrodite Lane on a train from Scotland to London. Miss Lane has been the assistant to a psychic for several years, Gabrielle Fox. Miss Lane, having discovered that Fox is actually a fraud, has left her employ without a word. She has little money and few possessions but sees an advertisement reading "Consulting Detective Requires Assistant. Must be Literate, Brave, Congenial, with a Good Memory & Willing to Work All Hours". Thus is born the detecting team of Jesperson and Lane and an adventure in the world of the psychic "craze" in Victorian England. The duo's first two cases turn out to be linked; the case of a somnambulist and that of several missing psychic mediums.

I have always been fascinated by the interest and belief in psychic phenomena during the Victorian era. Even someone like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was deeply involved and entirely credulous. There are references to Holmes and Watson in The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief, but only as fictional characters. Mr. Jasper Jesperson is a young man with many talents and Miss Lane is an intrepid young woman. This first novel in a projected series is an entertaining read, although a little slow paced, with many clues about Mr. Jesperson's early life, lived all over the world, and how he gained his arcane knowledge. I hope we hear more about his life in future books. I recommend The Somnambulist for fans of historical mystery and fantasy.

Thanks to Hydra and Net Galley for an advance digital copy. The opinions above are my own.

RATING- 3.5 Stars

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