Things in jars

Jess Kidd

Book - 2020

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 pa...st 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.

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Subjects
Genres
Mystery fiction
Detective and mystery fiction
Fantasy fiction
Paranormal fiction
Published
New York : Atria Books 2020.
Edition
First Atria Books hardcover edition
Language
English
Item Description
Subtitle taken from dustjacket.
"Originally published in Great Britain in 2019 by Canongate"--Title page verso.
Physical Description
369 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN
9781982121280
1982121289
Main Author
Jess Kidd (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*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.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

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.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Woman detective Bridie Devine investigates the kidnapping of a nobleman’s illegitimate daughter, whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the attention of sinister collectors in the underworld’s curiosities trade. By the author of Himself. 60,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"The sooty streets of Victorian London are crawling with nefarious characters, and Bridie Devine--female detective extraordinaire--must confront her most remarkable puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick. Winding her way through a mystery as labyrinthine as the city streets, Bridie won't rest until she finds Christabel, even if it means unearthing a past that she'd rather keep buried--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A January Book of the Month Pick'miraculous and thrilling'A few pages in and I was determined to read every word Jess Kidd has ever written.' 'Diane Setterfield, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Once Upon a River'An impossible wonder: a book for everyone, and yet somehow a book just for you...A sumptuous tour of Victorian London, resurrected here with a vigor and vibrancy to rival The Crimson Petal and the White...Utterly magical.''A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window'A perfect mix of hilarity, the macabre, and a touch of romance, Things in Jars is ridiculously entertaining, all as it sneaks up and makes you feel things'simply: Jess Kidd is so good it isn't fair.' 'Erika Swyler, bestselling author of The Book of Speculation and Light from Other StarsIn the dark underbelly of Victorian London, a formidable female sleuth is pulled into the macabre world of fanatical anatomists and crooked surgeons while investigating the kidnapping of an extraordinary child in this gothic mystery'perfect for fans of The Essex Serpent and The Book of Speculation.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. Blending darkness and light, history and folklore, Things in Jars is a spellbinding Gothic mystery that collapses the boundary between fact and fairy tale to stunning effect and explores what it means to be human in inhumane times.