“So often,” Jackaby said, “people think that when we arrive at a crossroads, we can choose only one path, but—as I have often and articulately postulated—people are stupid. We’re not walking the path. We are the path. We are all of the roads and all of the intersections. Of course you can choose both.”
― William Ritter,
In 1892, New Fiddleham, New England, things are never quite what they seem, especially when Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer R. F. Jackaby are called upon to investigate the supernatural.
First, a vicious species of shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens, and a day later, their owner is found murdered with a single mysterious puncture wound. Then in nearby Gad’s Valley, now home to the exiled New Fiddleham police detective Charlie Cane, dinosaur bones from a recent dig mysteriously go missing, and an unidentifiable beast starts attacking animals and people, leaving their mangled bodies behind. Charlie calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt for a thief, a monster, and a murderer.
I bought the first Jackaby novel last year at the Texas Teen Book Festival. I had never heard of William Ritter or of the book. I noticed it as I was walking past the BookPeople tent, perusing the books for sale and LOVED the cover. I also like any type of book set in the 1700s or 1800s. I’m not the biggest mystery or Sherlock Holmes fan but that’s not what makes these novels. Yes they are very similar to Sherlock but the writing is so witty. I love Jackaby and Abigail Rook. She’s the most perfect assistant for Jackaby. She’s intelligent and sassy in her own sarcastic way.
What I really loved about Beastly Bones was that the setting was quite different. I really enjoyed it being on a farm and there being the mystery of the Dinosaur bones. It was Sherlock meets Jurassic Park meets Tom Bombadil from Tolkien’s tales.
And Charlie was back! I had a feeling he would be… His and Abigail’s flirtation continues in this book and it drives you crazy the whole book! Until the end! Hurrah! I can’t wait to see what the next book brings. There will definitely be a next book. Ritter leaves you with a big cliffhanger. There’s a lot going on with Jenny the ghost in this book and creepy, pale stranger. The next book will be about them.
I think Ms. Rook is one of my favorite book characters. In Jackaby she is struggling with her decision of basically running away from home to have an adventure and to be her own person. She feels thrown into this job with Jackaby by Fate and is constantly trying to figure out if she’s actually qualified for the job. But Abigail is intelligent, and a match of wits for Jackaby. She finally figures out her place in the world.
In this book she is struggling with her feelings for Charlie. Should she pursue him or does that conflict with her idea of being her own person and living a great adventure? Surprisingly enough, Jackaby helps her (sneakily might I add) through this internal struggle. It’s great! I love them both.