Wed 26 Mar 2008
VICTORIA LAURIE – Crime Seen.
Obsidian; paperback original. First printing, September 2007.
This is the 5th in this series of “Psychic Eye” mysteries, all featuring Abby Cooper, a professional psychic who dabbles in solving mysteries. For the record, here’s the list:
Psychic Eye Mysteries:
1. Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye (Signet, December 2004)
2. Better Read Than Dead (Signet, June 2005)
3. A Vision of Murder (Signet, December 2005)
4. Killer Insight (Signet, September 2006)
5. Crime Seen (Obsidian, September 2007)
6. Death Perception (Obsidian, September 2008)
… a list of mysteries written by Victoria Laurie which has recently been expanded by a new series of …
Ghost Hunter Mysteries:
1. What’s a Ghoul to Do? (Signet, April 2007)
2. Demons Are a Ghoul’s Best Friend (Signet, March 2008)
… in which M. J. Holliday and her partner Gilley are, as advertised, ghostbusters who also come across mysteries to solve in the course of their daily routine.
I suppose I sound slightly dismissive there, and if I did, I probably meant it, just a little. Psychic detectives have been around a long time — since the days of Weird Tales and Seabury Quinn’s detective Jules de Grandin, and probably even before that.
The fact is, in spite of what you may have seen or heard about on TV, according to Wikipedia, “no psychic detective has ever been praised or given official recognition by the F.B.I. or US national news for solving a crime, preventing a crime, or finding a kidnap victim or corpse.”
And another fact is — or is this just my opinion? — solving crimes by psychic means takes all of the fun out of solving mystery puzzlers. Well, OK. It’s just my opinion.
What Abby Cooper has the ability to do is to wave her hand over her FBI boy friend’s “closed case” files, get pictures from them in her mind and give him hints as to who the culprit is or how he got away with it. Or she can accompany her PI girl friend to interview suspects and give her a kick under the table when she know the suspect is lying.
In Crime Seen she helps Dutch — that’s her boy friend — catch Dutch’s new partner’s former partner’s killer. Or rather, what she’s asked to do is to help prevent the confessed killer from getting parole. In doing so, she risks her life at least once, when a enemy Hummer runs her and her PI friend Candice off the road into a deep ravine.
And she doesn’t tell Dutch. There are some issues involved. Go figure. The characters are otherwise pleasant enough, and the psychic abilities just unreliable enough, that the book is easy and — in spite of my statement above — fun to read. Just don’t take it too seriously, and my own personal pre-judgments aside, you’ll see why this is a popular series that’s doing well.