Before Pullman became famous for *The Golden Compass*, he made a name for himself with the exciting Sally Lockhart history-mysteries set in Victorian England. Sally is an intrepid young woman making waves in a time period when women were just beginning to be allowed to own property and run businesses. In *The Ruby in the Smoke*, Sally is 16 and has discovered that her seaman/businessman father has just died in a shipwreck, under mysterious circumstances. In trying to get access to the funds she is supposed to have inherited, she becomes involved in a plot to find a massively valuable ruby with a history of murder. Villains abound, especially the creepy and violent Mrs. Holland, one of the nastiest female villains ever. Fortunately, she also gains friends – especially the dreamer/photographer Frederick Garland and the office boy Jim Taylor, who wants to be a playwright. The book is incredibly tense, with deep characterization and a complex plot.
An earlier YA novel from Philip Pullman, better known for the "His Dark Materials" series, the first book of which is "The Golden Compass." This book was a quick read filled with swashbuckling action.
A decent YA Victorian era mystery. Sally is an enjoyable character with none of the typical accomplishments a girl of the period would have and is all the more likable because of it. The cast of characters that surround Sally are delightful and Pullman puts together a short but compelling mystery that leaves me keen to pick up the next novel in this series.
The writing style is very polished. As you're reading along, you can feel comfortable looking for the little hints and clues on what is going to happen next. The characters are likeable and not annoying. The main character specifically is my favorite because of her unusual talents.
Really good book!!! Lol Mr Berry, the strong idiot! Mrs Holland was freaky~! A good mystery story, with a well interwoven plot.
I have had this book on my bookcase for 3 or 4 years and finally got around to reading it. It was really engaging and eventful. It was well written and you got the feel for that era in London. I definitely recommend this book.
Highly original, which is refreshing for a young adult novel. Very entertaining, I was intrigued throughout every page.
White_Butterfly_20 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over
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