From the 1840's to the 1920's, mediums and spiritualism fascinated many; even the educated and famous flocked to seances in hopes of communicating with the dead.
The Woman Who Spoke to Spirits is set in the 1880's in London. L.G. (Lily) Raynor, owner and only investigator of the World's End Investigation Bureau, needs a clerk to take care of filing and accounts so that Lily can meet with clients and carry on her investigations.
She hires Felix Wilbraham, who is in desperate need of a job and is more than capable of handling the paperwork.
While Lily is out of the office to meet with a client, Ernest Stibbins rushes in, mistakes Felix for L.G. Raynor, and in a frightened manner says someone is threatening his wife with harm--can the private inquiry agent help him? He explains that his young wife Albertina is a medium and holds seances for a regular group of attendees several days a week. Felix doesn't correct the mistaken identity and takes the case.
Worried about how Lily will react to his assumption of her role as head of the agency, Felix dreads her return to the office. Lily, however, is not at all disturbed by the acquisition of a new case. Felix will take the role of investigator, and Lily will find a way to become part of the seance crowd.
When Lily attends a seance, she is shocked to feel a terrible menace directed at Albertina. A sense of dread and a fear for Albertina's safety makes Lily uneasy. And how could Albertina have possibly known about an incident in Lily's own life?
I enjoyed this first in the World's End Investigation Bureau Victorian mystery series and look forward to more. The backgrounds of both Lily and Felix are hinted at and will most likely be developed in future books, but they are already interesting characters in a partnership with many possibilities.
Read in February; blog review scheduled for May 19.
Victorian/Mystery. June 1, 2019. Print length: 226 pages.