I ve read Jess Kidd s other two books and love her quirky, cross genre style This book has a different feel to her others, but I think it s her best yet The characters were vivid and Dickensian, the Victorian era was perfectly captured with its blend of science and medicine, folklore and superstition The genre, as always with Kidd s novels, is hard to pinpoint it s a historical novel, but also a crime novel and a supernatural novel, although it s left to the reader to determine how much they want to believe the elements of folklore is Ruby really there as a ghost, or is he a hallucination brought on by whatever Bridie smokes constantly Is Christabel really a merrow, or just an unusual, unloved child I also liked the way that the mystery cleverly intersected with Bridie s own past and own enemies I loved Bridie s dry humour and the way she plays with conventions of gender and identity, especially with all her disguises.I did feel that the characterisation in the book was stronger than the plot though Often characters were introduced in a vivid, entertaining and humorous way, but only to play some small role in the plot and were then never seen again A lot of the chapters started with descriptions of London, which, while they were well written and evoked the gloomy atmosphere, also slowed down the pace somewhat It also felt like the ending was a little rushed, especially the parting of Bridie and Ruby.On the whole though I loved the style of the novel and would like to see another instalment of Bridie s adventures as a detective Jess Kidd has created an unconventional Victorian Female Private Investigator, Bridie Devine, and put her into a fabulously innovative story With the help of a ghost or is Ruby Doyle a result of what she smokes in her pipe and Cora Butter her friend and housekeeper amongst others, Bridie sets out to find a missing child or is she something else Jess really leaves things for us to decide which is great This is my first Jess Kidd read but I am sure to pick up another, this book is rich with artistic descriptions that transport you to the places Jess wants you to go, and your senses come alive and you can hear, see and smell the same as our characters Elements of time and place, crimes, medicine, lore and traditions all well researched Its Historical, crime, some magical realism, medicine, mixed with a bit of humour It was great and I hope we get to meet Bridie Devine again in the future I am new to this author but this book has set me on a path of wonderful reading This book is different taking you out the norm The characters are colourful and rich The description makes sure you re there right in the middle I am hoping for a sequal as the characters are now too fondly thought of to lose Take yourself off and enjoy I will certainly will be with all this authors other books, The Hoarder next in line. There is so much to praise in this listen novel ideas, characterisations, fiendish juxtapositions and a believable, gothic world It was good to spend time with this novel I like its use of words with the poetic wafts of twentieth century poets The main character reminds of an older Elizabeth Barnabus, from Rod Duncan s Gas lit series, and so will please many And I so much like the character creation and depiction of Ruby The plot moves quickly, dipping between times I was unsure about the rush of short chapters toward the end I especially liked a puzzle that was set at the start and was moved by what I took as the resolve and release I think that the book s editors might have exerted a little discipline over the text generally and in instances, for example The passengers have paid three times over, that buys hush Chapter 16 and, They paid three times over, up front That buys hush Chapter 14 There is no need for this That said I have purchased Kidd s The Hoarder which I look forward to reading it. Our book club choice for February and comfortably the worst choice we have made in the six years I have been goingTotal struggle from start to finish, truly dreadful This is probably the best and most original Victorian detective story I have read in years Tightly plotted, wonderful characterisations, and beautifully written Looks like it could be the first of a series I only hope the author can continue to maintain this quality. Kidd s heroine investigation is very entertaining and she is young and energetic completely different from HOLMES POIROT or MARPLE She can get a group of people together to support her and after a bit of a slow start Kidd works her plot into a real climax Things in Jars is an enchanting Victorian detective novel that explores what it is to be human in inhumane times, from Costa Award winner and twice BBC RadioBook Club author Jess Kidd London,Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age, is taking on her toughest case yet Reeling from her last job and with her reputation in tatters, a remarkable puzzle has come her way Christabel Berwick has been kidnapped But Christabel is no ordinary child She is not supposed to exist As Bridie fights to recover the stolen child she enters a world of fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and mercenary showmen Anomalies are in fashion, curiosities are the thing and fortunes are won and lost in the name of entertainment The public love a spectacle, and Christabel may well prove the most remarkable spectacle London has ever seen In depth Jess Kidd s novels have been on my radar for quite a while, so I was thrilled to receive a review copy of Things in Jars The novel follows female investigator Bridie Devine, as she takes on the case of finding a missing child in 1860s London Woven with supernatural magical realism, Kidd tells a tale that feels utterly complete every element perfectly in its place making this the work of a master storyteller Readers should note passages describing assault, animal cruelty, surgical procedures and cannibalism, which may be triggering.When an unusual child with sharp teeth, pale skin and an affinity for the water disappears from a baronet s house, Bridie Devine is called on to investigate She is accompanied by the recently deceased, tattooed boxer Ruby Doyle, whose connection to Bridie s past forms its own mystery, and Cora Butter, a 7 foot tall housemaid Bridie rescued from a freak show As readers, we witness the kidnapping, so know full well who the perpetrators are, but this doesn t stop the mystery from being thrilling at all Partly, this comes from the way Bridie s unusual upbringing starts to be revealed, and to entangle with the other narrative threads.Bridie is the best sort of heroine bold, brave and not held back by society s gender norms While lacking Phryne s sartorial elegance, her investigative prowess and gumption bear a strong resemblance to Kerry Greenwood s Miss Fisher hooray Likewise, Ruby and Cora are wonderful sidekicks with their own quirks and backstories.Kidd gives the most fabulous descriptions be they of London or of her characters We are taken on an olfactory tour of the slums, and given Dickensian portraits of people with the air of a raffish tomcat , for example Indeed, her writing is pure pleasure, the words on the page all instruments singing to her conductor s baton She has a tendency for alliteration and a rhythm that leans towards poetry, without tipping all the way.I am a huge fan of magical realism, and it is splendidly incorporated into this tale, with just the right matter of fact tone and whiff of ambiguity.I will be seeking out her other titles very soon Kidd may be a new favourite Highly recommended.Recommended if you liked The Mermaid and Mrs HancockHuge thanks to crazybooklady for taking this photo for me while I m overseas I received a review copy of Things in Jars from Canongate Books and Allen and Unwin in exchange for an honest review All opinions are my own. I enjoyed this book It is the third Jess kid book that I have read and it didn t disappoint.