The Séance Society
Young Lee Plunkett has inherited his father’s private-eye business but doesn’t seem cut out for the job as much as his ex-cop father. But when Trexler Lloyd, an eccentric inventor and entrepreneur, is electrocuted in his Spectricator, a machine designed to speak with the dead, Plunkett finds himself drawn into the mystery surrounding the ghost-seeker’s death. A retired cop is certain that Lloyd was murdered and asks Plunkett to investigate. Urged on by his fiancée, Audrey, Plunkett enlists the aid of Mr. O’Nelligan, a genial and scholarly Irishman with the gift of blarney to investigate Lloyd’s death.
The duo encounters a host of colorful characters, including a surly medium, a former speakeasy queen, a gardener that sees ghosts, a snobby English chauffeur, a beautiful Spanish widow, and a household of bizarre servants, any one of whom could be implicated in Lloyd’s murder.
This debut novel set in the 1950s is a mystery in traditional Agatha Christie style with smart and witty dialogue, touches of humor, and a fast-paced narrative. The paranormal theme gives the story a contemporary feel without sacrificing the traditional elements of a mystery. It’s an enjoyable read and highly recommended. One hopes there will be more Plunkett-O’Nelligan mysteries.