Top Ten Books Behind The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief

Somnambulist_TPBOHi guys,
Join me today in welcoming back author extraordinaire Lisa Tuttle. Today she’s giving us her Top Ten books behind The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief, so if you were curious about her influences, research and recommendations, look no further!
Don’t forget, The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief is published on the 16th July – that’s next week! You can pre-order your copies here in trade paperback and here on Kindle.
Also, keep your eye out for an exclusive extract and an excting competition – coming soon to a blog near you!

Top Ten Books Behind The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief by Lisa Tuttle
Writers are usually readers first, so all books come from other books – especially when they are about things the writer couldn’t possibly have experienced at first hand. These are some of the books behind mine:
  1. 763489The Story of the Amulet by E. Nesbit – E. Nesbit is one of my favourite writers of all time, and this particular book, which includes time travel along with magic, which I read when I was about nine or ten in an omnibus edition, already much-battered and pre-loved by my father and his older sister, was my first introduction to the wondrous place called The British Museum – from then on, I was determined someday to get to London where all sorts of magical things might be found.
  2. The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, edited with notes by Leslie S. Klinger – Of course this edition was by no means my first introduction to Sherlock Holmes – that happened at much the same time that I first read E. Nesbit, and again it was one of my father’s old books – and in three very large volumes it is not the most comfortable way of reading and rereading the stories and novels (for that, there are paperbacks) but for anyone who likes to know the facts behind the fictions, this is pure geek heaven. A fantastic compendium of scholarship and speculation, and a wonderful, illustrated tour of the world of the great British detective.
  3. The Odd Women by George Gissing – If the works of Conan Doyle and E. Nesbit inclined me to romanticize late Victorian/early Edwardian London, this great novel, first published in 1893, was an ideal corrective, depicting the emotional trials and tribulations of five unmarried women struggling to make meaningful lives for themselves.
  4. The Story of a Modern Woman by Ella Hepworth Dixon – George Gissing was sympathetic to the “New Woman” of the time, but Ella Hepworth Dixon knew their experiences from the inside, as a woman trying to make a living as a writer in 1890s London. This autobiographical novel is filled with contemporary detail and speech patterns, and reading it helped me get into the spirit of the times I was writing about.
  5. The Experiences of Loveday Brooke, Lady Detective by Catherine Louisa Pirkis – Another “modern woman” who wrote these detective stories in 1893. This was a gift from my friend Michele Slung who wrote the introduction to the Dover edition in 1986, setting the female detective in the context of her times, when “The very essence of criminal investigation is antithetical to what was considered proper feminine breeding…”
  6. 41Xf62pbpnL._SX333_BO1,204,203,200_Hidden Depths: The Story of Hypnosis by Robin Waterfield – An absolutely fascinating history and investigation into a still-mysterious subject, with something of interest on every page.
  7. Baedeker’s Guide: Great Britain 1890 A facsimile reprint edition from Old House Books, and an absolute gold-mine of useful details.
  8. Thirty Years of Psychical Research, Being a Treatise on Metaphysics by Charles Richet, PH.D. (translated from the French by Stanley De Brath) — I confess I have still only dipped into and browsed through this book, published in 1923, but just looking at it on my desk makes me smile. It is a wonderful mixture of the scientific and the credulous, full of interesting cases offered as proof of clairvoyance, precognition, telekinesis, ectoplasm and more.
  9. Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde by Franny Moyle – Richard Ellmann’s biography of Oscar Wilde is great, no question, but this book gave me a different perspective on the famous Oscar, as well as being an interesting portrait of a woman who – a celebrity in her own day – is too often forg14otten. And it is so vividly written, bringing the streets and houses of late Victorian London into 3D-HD.
  10. Enquire Within Upon Everything 1890 Another facsimile edition from Old House Books, on the dust-jacket it is described as “The book that inspired the World Wide Web” – probably going a bit far, but in the days before Google, this was the equivalent – where else could you find out about bankruptcy proceedings, what to do when someone dies, remedies for a variety of diseases, recipes, advice on etiquette and how to make your carpets last longer, all in one handy place?

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