Jackaby by William Ritter (2014)

A chill tingled up my spine. Beyond the obvious strangeness of the spectacle, there was something more profoundly unsettling about the woman’s muted cries. An indefinable spasm of grief and dread shuddered through me. Was this the life that Jackaby lead? Death and madness and despair behind every door (p 59)?

JackabyYoung Miss Rook is fresh off the boat in New Fiddleham, New England and in great need of a job. She eventually stumbles upon Jackaby, a civilian sleuth who – like the great Sherlock – uses deductive reasoning and – like a diviner – a fantastical ability to see what others cannot in order to understand the past and prevent future harm.

I expected more wit but the development of the main characters and intriguing secondary characters made up for any lack. The killer will emerge as somewhat predictable early on but there is a side twist that left me wanted to read a sequel immediately. The prose flowed smoothly and I found myself quickly immersed. Recommended.

Library copy | Algonquin Young Readers | ISBN: 9781616203535 | 299 pages | Grades 6+

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