The Other Side of Midnight

Written by Simone St. James
Review by Clarissa Harwood

In 1925 London, most people who visit psychic mediums are family members of soldiers who died in the Great War. Psychic Ellie Winter doesn’t contact the dead or conduct séances; instead, she restricts her services to finding lost things. But then her rival, flamboyant medium Gloria Sutter, is murdered, leaving a note that reads, “Tell Ellie Winter to find me.” Solving the mystery of Gloria’s murder means Ellie must face people she’d rather forget, including James Hawley, a war veteran who has devoted his life to debunking psychics.

I’ve been a St. James fan since her first novel, The Haunting of Maddy Clare. The Other Side of Midnight is a more sedate mystery, without the chilling, breathless pace of Maddy Clare, yet still satisfying. There is one deliciously creepy séance scene, but despite the psychic protagonist, this novel is essentially a conventional whodunit. There are more dead bodies, the requisite hard-nosed detective, and several possible suspects. And Ellie must identify the killer before she becomes the next victim.

Ellie is a complex protagonist, and St. James skillfully reveals just enough backstory to keep the reader interested: Why are Ellie’s and Gloria’s lives so intertwined? What are the extent and limitations of Ellie’s powers? James Hawley is also an appropriate love interest for Ellie, but I was hoping for more sexual tension and more of the romance subplot, which I’ve come to expect from St. James’s novels.

Despite these quibbles, St. James is a skilled storyteller, and her fans won’t be disappointed.