Review of The Woman Who Spoke to Spirits, by Alys Clare

I borrowed a copy of Alys Clare’s book, The Woman Who Spoke to Spirits from the local library.

Description from Goodreads:

London, 1880. “I’m dreadfully afraid someone is threatening to kill my wife …” When accounts clerk Ernest Stibbins approaches the World’s End investigation bureau with wild claims that his wife Albertina has been warned by her spirit guides that someone is out to harm her, the bureau’s owner Lily Raynor and her new employee Felix Wilbraham are initially sceptical. How are the two private enquiry agents supposed to investigate threats from beyond the grave? But after she attends a s�ance at the Stibbins family home, Lily comes to realize that Albertina is in terrible danger. And very soon so too is Lily herself … 


I wasn’t thrilled with the first person, present tense narrative choice. I thought it really distanced the reader from the characters. But beyond that I mostly really enjoyed this book. I’ll grant that I wasn’t particularly surprised a the identity of the villain, having guessed it very early on, and I thought there was a subtle centering on Felix that made him feel more the main character than her (when I also sense it was meant to be her). But there was good writing, interesting characters, not-quite-banter (but working in that direction), and a couple moral quandaries I appreciated thinking on. Mostly though I really liked both Lily and Felix, as well as them together. I look forward to reading future books in this series.

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