Bingo 18: Minds
A Sherlock Holmes mystery would count as a Mind-centered story, so why not a Holmesian wannabe? In probably only the lightest twist on the real world, The Verifiers imagines that basically the only way people can find prospective partners in via online services that guide your choices based on compatibility; no one seems to think there’s any other way. The rise in such services also brings doubts about how honest your potential spouse has been about their profile or who they really are, and if that really gets to you, you hire Veracity, basically a private eye agency who will find out for you. Claudia is the screw up youngest child of an immigrant single mother, the humanities major to her Ivy League educated business guy brother and glamorous gorgeous sister, who is starting maybe her dream job at Veracity (she’s a big fan of a mystery series featuring one Inspector Yuan, and seems to want to live that actual life). A strange customer brings an unusual case, and then turns up dead. Her Veracity colleagues tell her that their job is done, but Claudia can’t let things go; she must solve the mystery.
There are all kinds of obstacles, both personal and professional, as Claudia gradually realizes there are a lot more secrets that she needs to figure out if she’s ever going to get herself a successful life like her mother wants, although she’d much rather find a girlfriend than the nice Chinese boy her mother keeps suggesting. Seriously though, everyone, including Claudia has at least one big secret, except maybe one or two of her Veracity colleagues who don’t get a ton of character development beyond weirdo techie and standoffish probably-lesbian (yes, the archetypes).
The thematic question of the ethics and morality behind convincing people they need algorithms to find happiness is pretty blunt as well, although it unfortunately doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it could. This is a problem because the murderer has a connection to this question and without more on the thinking out the various complexities the grand confrontation/reveal is basically about as dull and mundane as it could be. This is not the only unsatisfactory resolution to a problem either; several of the other secrets and their resolutions are glossed over as well.
There could have been a little more thinking implied considering how relevant that key question is to current modern life, but this is still a decent “beach read” even though it’s now fall.