Things in jars / Jess Kidd.

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  • Additional Information
    • Publication Information:
      First Atria Books hardcover edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: Bridie Devine--female detective extraordinaire--is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery. Winding her way through the labyrinthine, sooty streets of Victorian London, Bridie won't rest until she finds the young girl, even if it means unearthing a past that she'd rather keep buried. Luckily, her search is aided by an enchanting cast of characters, including a seven-foot tall housemaid; a melancholic, tattoo-covered ghost; and an avuncular apothecary. But secrets abound in this foggy underworld where spectacle is king and nothing is quite what it seems.
    • Notes:
      Subtitle taken from dustjacket.
      "Originally published in Great Britain in 2019 by Canongate"--Title page verso.
    • ISBN:
    • Accession Number:
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Booklist Reviews 2019 November #1

*Starred Review* Victorian England was a time when both scholars and thrill seekers became obsessed with things in jars. After being hired by Sir Edmund Berwick, whose daughter, Christabel, has been kidnapped, private investigator Bridie Devine follows a labyrinthine trail through a sooty and soggy Dickensian London in pursuit of criminal anatomists. Christabel is no ordinary child. She possesses not just ethereal beauty, but also strong, venomous, pikelike teeth, and she devours the snails that come to her in slimy processions. Bridie is assisted by a seven-foot-tall housemaid, a legendary apothecary, and the ghost of champion boxer Ruby Doyle. Ruby is so seductive that Bridie turns for advice to a tome entitled Spectral Love: When Your Beau Is Deceased. She is pursued by a nefarious surgeon, disgusted by a circus owner who fancies himself Henry VIII, and beset upon by the evil Mrs. Bibby. Kidd has created a captivating cast of characters and delivers a richly woven tapestry of fantasy, folklore, and history. The atmosphere is thick with myriad unpleasant smells on offer, and readers may find themselves wrinkling their noses, but they will keep turning the pages. Recommend to fans of Ruth Hogan's The Keeper of Lost Things (2017) and Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpent (2017). Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

PW Reviews 2019 December #3

Set in 1863 London, this lurid but languid gothic mystery from Kidd (Mr. Flood's Last Resort) finds eccentric female detective Bridie Devine investigating the disappearance of six-year-old Christabel Berwick, who appears to have been taken in the night by her nurse. Bridie can't fathom why the child's widowed father, notorious maritime oddities collector Sir Edmund Berwick, would refuse to involve the police; then she discovers that Christabel's very existence is a secret, as are her sharp teeth, piercing voice, and propensity for eating snails. Bridie vows to locate the child and bring her home—provided she can determine whether Christabel is truly Berwick's daughter, or merely part of his collection. Assisting Bridie is the ghost of boxer Ruby Doyle, who recently began haunting Bridie, but refuses to explain why. Vividly sketched, larger-than-life characters and powerful senses of time and place compensate for the glacial pace and the underdeveloped plot. Penny-dreadful fans will delight in this stylish tale, but readers seeking a satisfying puzzle should look elsewhere. Agent: Amelia Atlas, ICM. (Feb.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.