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THE MYSTERIES by Lisa Tuttle

THE MYSTERIES

By Lisa Tuttle

Pub Date: March 8th, 2005
ISBN: 0-553-38296-9
Publisher: Spectra/Bantam

Urban fantasy set in present-day England and Scotland.

Ian Kennedy is a London-based tracer of missing persons—a branch of detective work he became interested in when his own father abandoned his family. Business has gone badly of late, and so Ian depends on occasional checks from his American mother to get through. Now, Laura Lensky, another American working in London, wants him to find her daughter, 21 year-old Peri, who vanished two and a half years ago after a date with her boyfriend Hugh. Ian takes the case and looks through the various clues Laura gives him, including accounts of four people in Scotland who saw Peri, bedraggled and apparently pregnant, a few months after her disappearance, when she made a phone call to Laura. He also reads a notebook in which Peri recorded a fantasy involving talking dolls and a meeting with a powerful man who vows he’s loved her for thousands of years. Ian then interviews Hugh, whose story is as bizarre as Peri’s fantasy. On the night she disappeared, Hugh says, he played chess in a basement nightclub with a strange, charismatic man, a man who claimed to have won Peri from him. In the morning, the club had vanished. Ian recognizes both Peri’s and Hugh’s stories as analogues of the Celtic legend of Etain and Mither, in which a prince of the Sidhe abducts a mortal woman. As we gradually learn, Ian has previously investigated a similar abduction and rescued a young woman lost on a fairy hill in Scotland. Ian manages to convince Laura and Hugh that his interpretation of Peri’s disappearance is the most likely, and the three of them travel to Scotland to try to recover the missing girl. Tuttle builds the story convincingly, shifting easily between modern-day London and old folk-tales of fairy abductions that foreshadow the plot.

Stylishly written, with evocative use of folklore elements.