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The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief

(Jesperson and Lane #1)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  592 ratings  ·  108 reviews
Should you find yourself in need of a discreet investigation into any sort of mystery, crime or puzzling circumstances, think of Jesperson and Lane . . .

For several years Miss Lane was companion, amanuensis, collaborator and friend to the lady known to the Psychical Society only as Miss X - until she discovered that Miss X was actually a fraud.

Now she works with Mr Jasper
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 16th 2016 by Jo Fletcher Books
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3.70  · 
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 ·  592 ratings  ·  108 reviews

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Apr 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an atmospheric Victorian era mystery of what might possibly be a series with the duo of investigative detectives, Jasper Jesperson and Aphrodite 'Di' Lane. It is an atmospheric read set in London in 1893. Miss Lane discovers her former friend and companion, Gabrielle Fox, working for the Psychical Society, is engaging in fraud. Shocked, she abruptly departs for London, looking for work and lodgings with little money. She comes across an advertisement for a assistant detective and applies ...more
Sebastien Castell
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, mystery
The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief is a delightful pairing of Sherlockian mystery and Victorian occult tale that stays true to both without falling prey to the clichés of either genre.

Tuttle's heroine, Di Lane (don't dare call her 'Aphrodite' Lane – she hates that), is daring and clever while still having to face challenges that emerge both from her times and within herself. Unlike the generic 'badass in a bodice' who lives in a deeply patriarchal society but somehow is completely free of it
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Let me get the most important thing out of the way - this book and I didn't get along well. There are numerous reasons why but I'll just list a couple of them. Now, I admit it could be the case of 'right book, wrong time'. However, I doubt it considering the characters.

The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief has a lot going in its favour. I don't know many people who don't like this time setting when spiritualist associations were trying to get to the bottom of things and a number of people claim
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Many thanks to Lisa Tuttle, Hydra Publishing, and Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

I’m always in the market for a whimsical mystery series-one that doesn’t psychologically scar me. This is a bit like what if Sherlock Holmes tried to be less serious? I was thoroughly enthralled in the whodunnit. Right til the end. The narration is pleasant ; the situations are entertaining. It’s a bright beginning to a brilliant series. Bravo, Tuttle!
Jun 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this story! The mystery was intriguing, the inclusion of psychic powers surprising, and the characters absolutely lovely. I found myself slowing down when reading this one, just so it would last a little longer.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy.
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this. I loved it so much that I let out a happy little yip and hit request immediately when I saw its sequel pop up on Netgalley, and another when I got it – I can't wait.

Lisa Tuttle has worked with George R.R. Martin, so I would expect her to know what she's doing, and she does. She knows how to build characters without bending herself or her narrative into knots to make sure I picture them just as she wants me to; the main characters of this book are excellent companions. Miss Lane an
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
A solid series opener which hints at even better things to come. 3.5/5 stars

This review was originally posted on my book blog.

This is a well-written detective adventure whose prose successfully mimics the slightly stiff style of Conan Doyle and other writers of the Victorian period. Victorian London is also recreated in fantastically vivid detail. The smog, in particularly, is delightfully Dickensian and almost a character in its own right.

For those of you who dislike slow-builders, you’ll be pl
Under the Covers Book Blog
The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief goes to show that buying a book purely on the title and a bit of cover love is sometimes the right thing to do. This historical mystery, introducing the detective duo Miss Aphrodite "Di" Lane and Mr Jasper Jesperson offers readers psychic intrigue and a little bit of action as they work to uncover some dastardly goings on in historical London.

When I had finished reading this it took me a while to decide how to rate it. I was torn between 3 and 4 stars, so
May 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc, netgalley, fantasy
I loved the idea of this book. Set in Victorian times, the era of Sherlock Holmes, and with more than a little feel of Conan Doyle's work, this concerns Miss Lane and Mr Jesperson. Mr Jesperson is a detective who requires an assistant. Miss Lane has been a psychic investigator and requires work. The joining of their two talents is fortunate as a number of mediums have gone missing and there is also the case of a somnambulist to investigate.

I found this an intriguing tale and it is populated by r
Lynn Williams
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 of 5 stars
The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief is the start of a promising new detective series with a difference set in the Victorian era. I enjoyed this, it was an entertaining read and I will definitely read more even though I had some reservations.

At the start of the story we make the acquaintance of Miss Lane who appears to all intents and purposes to be fleeing on a late night train out of Scotland. It seems that Miss Lane has for the past few
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Three and half to four stars, maybe?

I could probably describe The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief as Sherlock Holmes, but wherein Watson is a woman and the leading character -- and where paranormal activity and psychic powers are a real and dangerous force. I enjoyed the historical setting, in Victorian London at the peak of séances and spiritualism, and the details Tuttle used really added depth to the story. As I said, it reminded me a lot of the original Conan Doyle versions of the Sherloc
Bonnye Reed
GNAB I received a free electronic copy of this historical novel (London 1883) from Netgalley, Lisa Tuttle, and Random House Publishing Group - Hydra in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all, for sharing your work with me.

This historical mystery written along the lines of Sherlock etc was an interesting read. I enjoyed it, and the mystery involved as well but it left me feeling stymied. I couldn't decided if it was just a bit too long-winded, or in need of another go with an editor. Whate
As with my reviews, automatic point off for a cliffhanger. This is actually a complete story but Chapter 32, the last chapter is 1 1/2 pages of opening story and cliffhanger. Please just offer these as complimentary opening chapters of the next book.

Pleasant read, a tad slow in places but overall moves well. Period feel without espousing on details (a good thing for this reader).
May 19, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Originally published at Reading Reality

I really enjoyed the beginning of this book. It was an interesting set up to a slightly off-beat Sherlock Holmes read-alike, with an even more eccentric Holmes and a female Watson who is not a doctor. On the one hand, their respective eccentricities make Jesperson and Lane closer to partners from the beginning. On that other hand, it also begins as a kind of tweak of the nose at Conan Doyle, because Aphrodite Lane becomes a detective after discovering that
Mar 22, 2017 rated it liked it
The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist & the Psychic Thief caught my interest with the cover, the idea of a psychic, and this brief description: "Should you find yourself in need of a discreet investigation into any sort of mystery, crime or puzzling circumstances, think of Jesperson and Lane . . ."

The first page had promise. Miss Lane had been friend and collaborator to a "Miss X" -- a psychic investigator and member of the Society of Psychical Research, but when Miss Lane suspects her fri
This book is set in Victorian London and follows private investigators, Jasper Jesperson and Aphrodite 'Di' Lane. They make quite a good pair, Jesperson is confident and logical whilst Di is more modest and refined, with a strong fascination in the supernatural. What I did appreciate is that Lisa Tuttle was able to write an entire book with a male and a female protagonist without feeling the need to force them into a romantic relationship at any point. She was happy to keep them as platonic frie ...more
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist & the Psychic Thief by Lisa Tuttle last night. I chose this book to review from Netgalley based solely on its title and I did not know at the time that Somnambulist is the correct term for someone who sleep walks. This is a period mystery, a bit cozy and a very respectable paranormal. Great main character, Miss Lane, who finds herself with ut a job and answering the call to become a detective assistant to a very charismatic man who calls hims ...more
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5⭐ rounded up to 4 🙂
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lisa Tuttle's The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief was a very entertaining read. The story was set in late 19th century London. Ms. Lane worked with Gabrielle Fox researching psychic phenomena, until she finds out her friend is a sham. Leaving Ms. Fox's side abruptly she finds herself penniless with no job and no place to live. She stumbles upon a job as a lady detective and the job offers room and board. Jesperson and Lane's first "big" case is following a somnambulist and determining where h ...more
3 Stars

This was a good historical cozy mystery. I wasn't looking for great, but a good, cozy read. It fit what I was looking for. The characters are well developed and likeable. I will be reading the next book eventually.
David Harris
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
I've read a number of Sherlock-Holmes influenced Victorian romps lately and at first I thought that's all this might be. So it was a pleasant surprise to see that while Holmes and Watson were duly acknowledged (as popular fiction of the time) and there are some superficial similarities - the address of Miss Lane and Mr Jesperson at 203A Gower Street, the mention by name of intriguing cases that are not described further - this isn't a new spin on Holmes and Watson.

To begin with, Miss Aphrodite L
Jul 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: publisher-sent
About 100 pages too long, suffering from too much superfluous waffling from it's narrator. Also very hard to care about anyone as there's zero investment to be had here. The premise is good, but towards the end feels rushed and poorly prepped.
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Forget Holmes and Watson! Give me Jesperson and Lane for all time!!

Do hope the author intends to write more!
Oct 31, 2018 rated it liked it
...something sparked between us. It was not that romantic passion that poets and sentimental novelists consider the only connection worth writing about between a man and a woman. But there was curiosity in that look, on both sides, and a tentative recognition – or at least the hope – that here there might be a congeniality of mind and spirit. [loc. 121]

1893: Miss Lane has been involved with the Society of Psychical Research for years, but flees her latest assignment after discovering that her 'c
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
It is 1893 and psychics are all the rage in London. Aphrodite Lane (call her Di) has left her employ as a psychic fraud investigator when she discovers her employer, herself, is a fraud. She answers an ad for an investigative assistant to detective J. Jesperson. The money’s not good but she will be provided room and board and, since job opportunities for young women are somewhat scarce, she accepts.

They are soon offered a case to follow a man who suffers from sleepwalking. He wants to know where
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Supernatural! Written by Lisa Tuttle, and published by Hydra, an imprint of Random House/Penguin, New York in 2017, this book is set in the year 1893. Jasper Jesperson is a private detective operating in London, and Miss Lane is his partner and assistant. We eventually learn that Miss Lane’s first name is “Aphrodite,” a name she hates and never uses. She allows herself to be called “Di,” but she is never referred to in any way other than “Miss Lane” in the Tuttle novels. She is the foil “Dr. ...more
Vishaka Rajan
Sometimes a novel just doesn't work for a reader. This is one of those times. I'm going to go through the list of things that caused this novel to not work for me, but keep in mind that it may just be a case of personal preference.

When I began reading this novel, I was startled by the pacing of the book. The focus was more on recounting events rather than showing the true passage of time and the full events, which was a bit disappointing; I would have preferred to have read the scenes in real t
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We first encounter Miss Lane on a train from Scotland, bound for London, having just abandoned her erstwhile friend Miss Fox while investigating a haunted house, after discovering signs of the latter perpetrating a fraud. Back in London, needing a job, Miss Lane sees an advert for an assistant to a consulting detective. The rest, as they say, is history. This is a fun twist on the Holmes genre, with Miss Lane working much more alongside her comrade, Mr Jesperson, than Watson did. It also draws o ...more
I received a copy for free via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

This is a decent read once you get into the story, which starts off rather slowly. Here we have Mr. Jesperson and Miss Lane, our Sherlock and Watson as they investigate some thievery and the problems of a somnambulist in exchange for clearing their rent debt. However, unlike our Sherlock, Jesperson does little impressive deductions, if any at all aside from when he first meets Miss Lane, and Miss Lane practically takes the
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading the second book in this series (The Witch at Wayside Cross), I had to go back and find the first one. I enjoyed the explanation of where Di Lane had come from, which was lacking in the second book, since she had already been introduced. The details of her job interview with Jasper Jesperson, the details of the household's arrangement, and other questions I had were all satisfied.

And then there was the mystery - a case of a sleepwalker who has no recollection of his nighttime wande
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(Wife of Colin Murray) aka Maria Palmer (house pseudonym).

Lisa Tuttle taught a science fiction course at the City Lit College, part of London University, and has tutored on the Arvon courses. She was residential tutor at the Clarion West SF writing workshop in Seattle, USA. She has published six novels and two short story collections. Many of her books have been translated into French and German e

Other books in the series

Jesperson and Lane (2 books)
  • The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross (The Curious Affair Of, #2)