Victorians are enchanted by Things in Jars. As you will be, after reading this spellbinding mystery.
Mrs. Bridie Devine, widow and consulting detective in Victorian London, has a personal problem. She can see dead people. Well, at least one, recently dead boxer Ruby Doyle.
Bridie also has a case. Sir Edmund, a baronet, is a widower. He has one secret daughter, six-year-old Christabel. She, and her nurse, Mrs. Bibby, are missing—presumed kidnapped. However, Sir Edward is convinced no one but his doctor, his doctor’s young daughter, his butler, his housekeeper, and the missing nurse knew of Christabel relationship to him. So how would an outsider know to kidnap her? And why was she kept hidden from the world?
The descriptions of the Victorian world are extensive and immersive. You feel like you are seeing Sherlock Holmes’ environment with new eyes. This book whole-heartedly embraces the dark, criminal, and poverty-stricken underbelly of London rarely seen in other Victorian detective novels. The touch of paranormal adds interest to the story. It fits in well with the era’s fascination with séances and the occult.
However, my favorite part is how the author gets you to believe in things you left behind in fairy tales. It is just amazing! Alas, I don’t want to rob you of the surprising reveal in the book.
I highly recommend Things in Jars. It is an absolutely unique story. I guarantee you have never read a story like this before. While it is a historical detective tale, it is so much more. 5 stars and one of my favorites that I won’t soon forget!
Thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.