The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief

Written by Lisa Tuttle
Review by Douglas Kemp

It is 1893, and Miss Aphrodite (usually known as Di) Lane arrives in London having left her erstwhile partner, Miss Georgia Cox, whom she discovered had been involved in fabricating evidence for séances. She immediately finds employment with Jasper Jesperson, a young man living in Gower Street with his mother, as his assistant in a consulting detective agency. Jesperson has numerous talents and abilities, although they struggle as first to find sufficient business.  But they are given the task to find out why a relative of their landlord has been sleepwalking, and then Miss Cox turns up and requests assistance in locating the whereabouts of a number of spiritualists who have mysteriously gone missing. It does not take a genius to spot that the two cases are related, and they become involved in a dangerous battle to save the captured mediums.

Although they are certainly not Holmes and Watson, there is an element of the famous duo in the subjects and mysteries they have, as well as Miss Lane acting as the foil to Jesperson’s apparent brilliance and ingenuity. The story zips along in entertaining and enjoyable way, and it is very well written. The characters have previously appeared in some of Lisa Tuttle’s shorter fiction, and the novel seems set up for a series. I certainly hope so.