East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Weekend with Lane & Jesperson

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30050287I have known Lisa Tuttle mostly as half of the writers’ duo that wrote Windhaven – the other half being George R.R. Martin.
Feeling that reading something of hers alone was long overdue, I got me two recent works by Tuttle in my last book haul.
One is a folk horror thing that I’m saving for the forthcoming days of mist and rain, while the other, called The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist & the Psychic Thief is, believe it or not, a mock-Holmesian novel.
And quite a fun romp, based on the first 100 pages I read so far.

When Miss Lane finds out the psychic she has been assisting so far is in fact a fraud, she does a runner, and lands in London with little money and a need for a job and a place to sleep.
This being 1893 there is not much a proper young lady can do.
Enter Mister Jasper Jesperson, self-styled investigator in the style of Sherlock Holmes, who lives at home with his mother, and needs an assistant.
He’s willing to provide food and lodging, and share the earnings of his activity with Lane.
But mister Jesperson’s business is not so stiff, after all, and soon some desperate measures need to be taken.

The novel follows the structure of a classic Holmesian story but gently and amusingly subverts it – Lane is no Watson, and Jesperson, for all his deductive powers and his earnestness, is no Holmes.
And it is interesting to read a novel that adopts the Canon’s classical structure, and is set in a world in which Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character and the book’s characters “of course” read Conan Doyle’s stories.

A nice book for an early Autumn Sunday afternoon.
Quite fun, and recommended if you like Victorian mysteries and psychic investigators.
And, really, who doesn’t?

Back to my reading nook. Later!

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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