My Rating: 4.5/5
Abigail Rook is new to the town of New Fiddleham and is in desperate need of employment. By chance she stumbles upon an advert for an assistant position under the eccentric Mr. R. F. Jackaby. Jackaby is a detective that specializes in the supernatural–he sees what others can’t see or choose not to see. When Rook and Jackaby get involved in a homicide investigation they both discover that there is more to the case than at first appeared.
I’ve been on a mystery binge. It was weird reading The Constantine Affliction and this back to back. Though they take place around the same time period (give or take 30 years) the world couldn’t have been any more different. The Constantine Affliction was rooted more in the realm of sci-fi whilst this seemed more rooted in fantasy. They both have some interesting parallels though which I may go into in another post.
I actually really liked this book. The core of the book I felt were the characters. Jackaby struck that right chord of being eccentric, arrogant, and sincere. I have to say that I have a real soft spot for the misunderstood mad science type. While reading this, I couldn’t help comparing him to both Sherlock Holmes and The Doctor from Doctor Who. Abigail Rook is Jackaby’s Watson/Companion. She’s swept away by the prospect of adventure sneaking off with her university money to dig for dinosaurs in Eastern Europe. I found her narratorial voice really engaging and it was interesting seeing her get acquainted with the world. The chemistry between these two characters made the book all the more enjoyable and hilarious at times.
Another awesome aspect of this book was the world it created. The supernatural effortlessly blends into the natural. I would have loved to see more of it actually. There were some gorgeous descriptions of certain settings particularly the attic of Jackaby’s home.
The mystery was also genuinely engaging. I actually had no idea who the suspect was until the last few pages. The story makes effective use of the supernatural in heightening the tension. Little known mythic lore were showcased in the story which I really appreciated. I don’t think we needed another vampire or werewolf to act the role of villain.
So, yes, I absolutely love this book and will most definitely pick up the sequel. If you like mysteries with a lot of magic and zany characters, I say pick it up.