Turing Hopper is an Artificial Intelligence Personality, a mainframe computer with a mind like Miss Marple. And when her creator, Zack, begins missing work, the sentient Turing senses foul play… (from Amazon)Buy on Amazon | Goodreads
Continuing on my adventures into cozy mysteries with something weird in them, we’ve come to You’ve Got Murder, where the amateur detective is an A.I.! You may think that having a computer program solve mysteries is a bit of a cheat, since, uh, computer programs are basically omnipresent/omniscient/etc, but stick in a personality and that computer program becomes much more interesting and not infallible at all.
Turing (the A.I.) is evolving into a full-fledged person. She’s got morals. She’s got feelings! And she has limitations. She can’t move around, and her access to information is limited in certain areas. This leads to her figuring out how to do her detecting in rather unusual ways, and that make the book fun to read.
The mystery is pretty good– if it was slightly tweaked I think it could pass as a technothriller, actually– but the best part is Turing and her evolution. In the beginning of the book she’s already pretty evolved, with human-y things, but watching her grow into even more of a person by the end of the book was fun to read. I suppose it speaks to my sci-fi side, the side that loves robots and stuff.
The only niggle I have is that I don’t think the solution (or the ending) was done as well as the rest of the book was. After finishing it I wasn’t entirely sure I had even read it correctly, because surely that wasn’t the right solution? But it was. And it didn’t make a whole lot of sense. So. That was disappointing.
I liked the rest of the book, though, especially the human sidekicks Turing picks up. And the techno talk isn’t even really out-of-date, because Ms Andrews keeps things somewhat vague. Yay! She’s also written about a billion other mysteries that I’m going to have to track down because they all look good, too.
Read: February 21, 2010