Tinav's Reviews > You've Got Murder

You've Got Murder by Donna Andrews
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's review
Mar 17, 09

really liked it
Read in March, 2009

I also read the first four books in Andrews' Turing Hopper series. VERY different from the Langslow books but very good in their own right, imho. In order, the books are You've Got Murder, Click Here for Murder, Access Denied, and Delete All Suspects.

Turing is a unique character, an Artificial Intelligence Personality (AIP), who resides inside the massive databanks of Universal Library in Washington DC. UL is a for-profit concern which not only digitized "all human knowledge" but created AIP interfaces for its customer interaction. Turing is a general knowledge AIP and the most popular one at UL. KingFisher is the chess personality, Sigmund is the psychology interface, etc. What very few humans know, however, is that Turing has become sentient.

In fact, the only humans aware that Turing is more than just a pleasant computer interface, are a secretary at UL, Maude, and the young man who runs the copy room, Tim. Maude is our sensible, organized person, while Tim spends his days reading Dashiell Hammett and longing to become a P.I. And the only other human who knows about Turing is her creator, the brilliant UL programmer named Zack, whose disappearance sparks our characters' first outing.

Andrews clearly has a solid working knowledge of computers, mainframes, interfaces and such, but brings them to ordinary human levels throughout the books. She's brilliant at the Turing sections of the book, told in first person, and in bringing to life the delights and problems of a sentient being living (sometimes trapped) inside a computer mainframe. Turing communicates by email and IM, and later by cell phone and speakers when she gets her voice software trained. She "sees" via webcams which need to be set up for her by her humans, and is sometimes carted about by laptop when she needs to be out in the field on a case. Time is an interesting element of Turing's life as well, because as a computer, she processes information and performs tasks in milliseconds, and finds the hours when her humans are asleep, interminable.

By turns entertaining, humorous, quirky, touching, and thought-provoking, the Turing Hopper series is good stuff and I recommend it.

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