Review: Jackaby – William Ritter

jackaby“Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion–and there are many illusions. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”

Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.

Doctor Who meets Sherlock in William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

Rating: 4/5

A rather delightful Sherlockian tale of murder, mystery and mayhem.

Our protagonist, the forward-thinking Abigail Rook, arrives in New England after her failed dig for dinosaurs in Eastern Europe. Originally seeking adventure, now she’d just like to find employment to keep herself afloat and avoid having to go back home and be a delicate lady flower. She ends up in the employ of the eccentric R.F. Jackaby, a detective with expertise in the paranormal and the unknown. Of course, most of the town doesn’t take him seriously, but he does have a good track record in solving cases, so they tolerate the method to his madness.

Her first day on the job, Abigail ends up at a crime scene perpetrated by some kind of beastly beast. And it’s all downhill from there – banshees, arrests, friendly household ghosts, a delightful young constable who catches Ms Rook’s eye, and a duck named Douglas.

Pockets! I was thrilled. I have never understood the aversion to pockets in ladies’ fashion – as though it has become some great shame to appear as if one might actually possess anything. 

Amen Abigail! A woman after my own heart.

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