The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief by Lisa Tuttle. Book Review

Jo Fletcher Books, s/b, 416pp, £8.99
Reviewed by Matthew Johns

Miss Lane had been working as part of the Psychical Society investigating mediums and psychics alongside her friend Miss X. Shocked to find that her close friend was using the same tricks as the mediums they debunked, she packed her bags and left. Back in London, with dwindling finances and no prospects, by sheer chance she finds a position with Mr Jasper Jersperson as a consulting detective.

Seeing some success with their cases, a wife comes to them concerned about her husband’s sleepwalking, and suddenly their biggest case emerges. As renowned mediums begin to disappear from their homes throughout the city, it becomes apparent that this is not just a simple sleepwalker.

Tuttle’s powerful prose sparkles and leaps off the page – she perfectly captures the repressed nature of Victorian times, how friends refer to each other as “Miss” and “Mr”, as well as the love for all things psychic that was rife at the time (including the sheer number of charlatans taking advantage of this). Jesperson and Lane are clearly a detective duo not to be trifled with – the next Holmes and Watson, but with a psychical twist, perhaps?