Sunday, September 25, 2005

Review: "The Mysteries" by Lisa Tuttle

People just don't disappear into thin air, do they?

That's the question that Ian Kennedy keeps running into over and over in Lisa Tuttle's "The Mysteries" ($21, Bantam Spectra).

Kennedy specializes in finding missing people. He has since his father disappeared when he was a child, the first of many disappearances from Ian's life. He eventually found his father, discovering that his reason for leaving was just a mundane, everyday reason, not the lavish fantasies that he had created. But not all of his cases have been so ordinary.

Lately, he's been hired to find Peri Lensky, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. With the help of a mother who obstinately refuses to believe in anything remotely supernatural and a reluctant boyfriend who doesn't really understand what he's seen. Ian begins to piece together the puzzle. It's a scenario that points the finger at the folk of fairy, and is disturbingly similar to one of his first cases.

Tuttle weaves the tale around a variety of Celtic myths, primarily "The Wooing of Etain." She also blends in plenty of legends of abduction by fairy folk. At first, the seemingly unrelated vignettes about people who have gone missing are jarring. But as the story continues, the reader begins to see the parallels and gain a better understanding of what's happening in the main story. What at first seems to be an intrusion, in the end makes the book richer.

"The Mysteries" takes the supernatural detective story that's become so popular and adds a satisfying extra layer of legend and folklore. Yet, it still remains the type of light and breezy story you'd expect from the genre, a quick, engaging read.

"The Mysteries" is the first novel from Tuttle since 1996's "The Pillow Friend," which is scheduled for a re-release later this year. Hopefully it won't take another nine years before we get the follow-up.

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