Friday, May 30, 2014

The Shadow in the North

When one of Sally’s clients loses a large sum of money in the unexpected collapse of a British shipping firm, Sally sets out to investigate. But as she delves deeper into the identity of a wealthy and elusive industrialist, she uncovers a plot so diabolical, it could subvert the entire civilized world.

Beth says 4.5 Stars...
I've been a fan of Philip Pullman since I read the astounding His Dark Materials trilogy.  I picked up the first of the Sally Lockhart mysteries years ago and just never got any farther.  That's my mistake because I inadvertently missed this delightful little book.  Pullman is a master of connecting complex plot threads without dropping any of them.  There are two mysteries that at first appear only tangentially related, but that intertwine in unexpected ways revealed throughout the book.  The story weaves in and out of performance halls, back alleys, and estates without losing its flow.  I got so excited because this book (finally) has excellent pacing when it comes to the central mystery!  The language is designed to take you back in time which might be a distraction to some readers.  It occasionally feels stilted, but is rather brilliant in general.

Sally is flat out awesome.  I like my heroines fierce and feisty and she fits the bill.  However, what's so admirable is her struggle for independence on her own terms in a society that thinks her sex renders her useless.  Running a financial consulting agency might not sound thrilling, but juxtaposing it with the action of detective work adds depth to the book.  She also knows her limits and will admit when she needs help or isn't good at something rather than forcing her way through.  Fred and Jim are delightful as male leads.  The tension between Fred and Sally brings forth a nice little spark that ensures the relationships aren't overly light.  The characters behave like real people and all have some lovely three-dimensonality.  I do have to warn about the end because I didn't expect it at all and then some serious feelings happened.

If you have a historical mystery itch, then this will scratch it perfectly.  I would recommend reading the first book before picking this one up, but it isn't a necessity.  For some adventure and mystery with a dash of romance befriend Sally Lockhart and go back in time.  You won't regret it.
book from library


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