1. ‘Somnambulist’ is the Victorian word for sleepwalker. Its first known use was in 1797 and the phenomenon was first studied in the mid 19th century by Carl Reichenbach, who thought that it was caused by a now debunked type of life energy called Odic force, that combined electricity, magnetism and heat. He also linked it to hypnotism, hysteria and phobia.
3. Jasper Jefferson lives at 203A Gower Street. This is a small homage to another famous detective – can you guess whom? (I’m warning you, it’s very difficult . . .)
4.The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief was inspired by two short stories written by Lisa Tuttle for anthologies edited by George R. R. Martin, entitled The Curious Affair of the Deodand (Down These Strange Streets) and The Curious Affair of the Dead Wives (Rogues). If you’re around for Nine Worlds Convention in August, you might be lucky enough to get your hands on a short story sampler of one of these great stories.
5. Everyone in the office has misspelled ‘Somnambulist’ at least once. No explanation needed.
6. The Society for Psychical Research is a real organisation! It was founded in 1882 by journalist Edmund Rogers and the physicist William F. Barrett, and aimed to “approach these varied problems without prejudice or prepossession of any kind, and in the same spirit of exact and unimpassioned enquiry which has enabled science to solve so many problems, once not less obscure nor less hotly debated”. It has had many famous members, including Henry Sidgwick, Frank Podmore and Frederic W. H. Myers, who all had extremely impressive facial hair. The society is still around today and is currently presided over by Richard S. Broughton, a senior lecturer in psychology at The University of Northampton, UK
7. The uncorrected manuscript of ‘The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief’ was the first Jo Fletcher book that I read, once I was offered a position here. If I hadn’t already been excited to start working, that would’ve done it!
8. All of the mediums in the book were based on real people, including Miss X, Christopher Chase and Signora Gallo. Lisa recently wrote a blog post about these fascinating characters here, if you want to find out more.
9. Two members of the Jo Fletcher books team may have giant crushes on Mister Jefferson. (Tall, red-gold curls, piercing blue eyes and SUPER smart… *swoon*
10. It’s published on the 16th June! That’s just over two weeks away . . . I know you’re probably already aware of that and have your copy preordered, but if you’re not, you can get it here in trade paperback and here on Kindle. What are you waiting for?
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 Jesperson as a consulting detective, but the cases are not as plentiful as they might be and money is getting tight – until a case that reaches across the entirety of London lands in their laps.
It concerns a somnambulist, the disappearance of several mediums, and a cat stuck up a tree . . . the links with the cat are negligible, but there is only one team that can investigate the seemingly supernatural disappearances of the psychics and defy the nefarious purpose behind them.
Jesperson and Lane, at your service.