Fantasy · Historical Fiction · Mystery · NetGalley

[NetGalley] The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist & the Psychic Thief by Lisa Tuttle

I received a free e-copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Hey guys! So it might be obvious that I’m really into some Sherlock stuff right now and while browsing NetGalley titles I found this book. It had a Sherlock Holmes feel to it and I just had to request it! Lucky for me, I was able to get it


The Curious Affair, Book 1 is about Mr. Jesperson and Miss Lane as they set out to become the best detectives out there, and yes, even the best need to think about things like rent and food. As their financial situation becomes worse, Mr. Jesperson suggests they go see if their landlord has any…problems he needs help with. Lucky for them, it seems he does, or at least, his sister and her husband do. And so their investigation into the local thievery, missing mediums, and somnambulism begins!

Before I begin, can I just say I’m so happy to finally finish this book? I’ve been reading this thing for what feels like years and part of it is work, part of it is that this book was quite the slow read. But it’s over now and I can finally know if this was a good read or not

And well, it was kind of a good read but also not really

One of the things I really enjoy about Sherlock are the deductions. I picked up BBC’s Sherlock because of this and I was hooked with the novel’s A Study in Scarlet because those deductions were just so simple but oh so good. Here we get a little bit of this in the first few pages when Miss Lane shows up at Mr. Jesperson’s home for an assistant position. Mr. J basically deduces her whole situation and she, well, she’s not impressed. She actually refutes everything he says, saying anyone with eyes could do the same thing. From here we have a bit of a clash, since our Watson is usually the one impressed and not really the brains. I found this to be refreshing but also annoying at times

Annoying because Miss Lane ends up being the Sherlock in this story and she’s not exactly my favorite character. In this book, Miss Lane seems to steal the spotlight. Not only does she know better and constantly corrects Mr. J’s behavior, but she also gains the most information when the two go investigating, making me wonder what Mr. J’s role is. Especially when it was him who decided he was going to become the best detective out there. Miss Lane seems to have no flaws and that turned me away from her character

It also makes sense though, because the POV of the book is from Miss Lane. We do learn about some of her fears and weaknesses but the way they’re rationalized made me exasperated many times. Especially that one moment where she becomes upset that Mr. Jesperson withheld information from her when she’d done the same thing (but it was ok for her to do it)

Speaking of Mr. Jesperson, his character felt really incomplete to me. He was supposed to be a good detective and Miss Lane always trusted he was smart enough to figure things out but I rarely saw this. I felt like the both of them just stumbled across clues and got things right more because of luck than actual skill. The whole deductions ended really early on in the book and one of the reasons was because the whole case ended up having a magical twist. I mean, it’s hard to deduce things when levitation, ghosts, and other psychic powers are mixed in

There were a few other characters in the story, such as all the mediums that went missing and our villain but I won’t say too much about that because then I’d spoil the mystery. Now, it could just be that I’m really bad at connecting clues, but I felt like things didn’t start to connect until we already knew who the villain was. And by then the pace picked up as well

I thought the whole magical aspect was an interesting twist in this adaptation but I just wish Jesperson was more integrated in the story as a real detective. Right now I don’t have much faith in either of their skills, which is something that is brought up in the book by a side character as he questions if J&L are real detectives. There is a case that’s mentioned, one that Miss Lane uses as a deflection against one of our antagonists that I wish we could have witnessed, if only to make them feel more established

I ended up rating this book a 3/5 on Goodreads because I found it to be an average read. I wouldn’t really recommend this to someone who is used to faster-paced books and possibly not to a mystery reader. It falls more on someone who likes some urban fantasy and historical fiction

The e-book is on Amazon for $5. If you’ve read it, let me know what you thought! Am I being too harsh with Miss Lane’s character or did you also feel the rest of the cast was underdeveloped?

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