The Somnambulist And The Psychic Thief by Lisa Tuttle (book review).

October 13, 2016 | By | Reply More

Getting past the title and it’s a bit of a mouthful, not to say a spell-check nightmare, ‘The Somnambulist And The Psychic Thief’ turns out to an adventure for a new female detective. There seem to be a few of these lately, it must be the zeitgeist or simply a reaction to the many male investigators, consulting detectives and others. This one has the twist that she is a psychic investigator before learning her hitherto boss is a bit of a fake. Taking the opportunity to regroup, our Miss Lane finds herself working for a young man who has all the attributes of young Sherlock, combined with some pleasing looks. Alongside both her and his innocence, we have his mother, who is the chaperone at the very least, as they all share a house and, in this instalment at least, a chaste existence.


When times get hard for the investigating pair, they are not above seeking out clients and doing the hard sell. When two cases come up, we know that somehow they will connect. Miss Lane finds out she has nor really left her old life behind as they start to investigate a series of missing people who are practising psychics and also a case of serious sleepwalking. The environs of London are put to use as the backdrop for this novel and Lisa Tuttle creates nocturnal scenes that are suitably atmospheric including some fine dramatic moments.

One of the many strengths is how good the dialogue is and this pushes the plot along with its setting that is actually set up with less words than we assume as readers. We generally fill in the gaps with our imagination and carry characters and locations, however faulty in our heads. Anyway, the power of sketching in a location from observation is a great skill. No need to weigh down with adjectives when the reader can add their own patina to it. Knowing just how much to add without boring the reader is also a talent and for the ‘penny dreadful’ that this pastiches

‘The Somnambulist And The Psychic Thief’ is a great read and definitely a series worth pursuing. It looks like it will make a good regular read alongside my other favourite sleuths.

Sue Davies

October 2016

(pub: Jo Fletcher Books/Quercus. 408 page enlarged paperback. Price: £16.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78429-960-6)

check out website: www.jofletcherbooks.com

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Category: Books, Fantasy

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