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Things in jars : a novel
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Publishers Weekly Review
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.)
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