A unique mystery set in 1892 New England told with warmth, humor, and suspense. The narrator, Abigail, sees the details in the ordinary, and Jackaby (a combination of Dr. Who and Sherlock Holmes) has the power to see the supernatural. This is a promising start to a new series. Recommended By Richard C., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
“Miss Rook, I am not an occultist,” Jackaby said. “I have a gift that allows me to see truth where others see the illusion — and there are many illusions. All the world’s a stage, as they say, and I seem to have the only seat in the house with a view behind the curtain.”
Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job,Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary — including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police — with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane — deny.
Doctor Who meets Sherlock in a debut novel, the first in a series, brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.
"Toss together an alternate 19th-century New England city, a strong tradition of Sherlockian pastiche, and one seriously ugly hat, and this lighthearted and assured debut emerges, all action and quirk. In the best Doyle tradition, the first-person narrator is pragmatic yet naïve Abigail Rook, native of Britain and seeker of adventure. Thwarted in Ukraine, she catches ship for the U.S. and lands in New Fiddleham, penniless and with few employable skills. This matters not to R.F. Jackaby, the peculiar stranger with the awful hat, who is more interested in the kobold (household spirit) Abigail has unknowingly picked up on her travels. Jackaby is a detective in need of an unflappable assistant literally, as his last one 'is temporarily waterfowl.' Abigail's keen eye for detail and complete ignorance of the paranormal make her observations invaluable to him, and she's soon caught up in the eccentric mayhem that is Jackaby's workaday world. Ritter is also capable of tenderness and pathos, as his description of a suffering banshee demonstrates, leaving room for development in any future cases Abigail may chronicle. Ages 12 up. Agent: Lucy Carson, Friedrich Agency. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Ritter’s debut skillfully blends science with the supernatural and balances whimsy with violence. The smartly paced plot wraps up neatly, but the rich world of this debut demands sequels.” Kirkus Reviews, starred review
About the Author
Reports of William Ritter's birthplace are unreliable and varied, placing his hometown either in a series of mysterious Catacombs in Malta or in a nondescript town in Oregon. His parents, it can be confirmed, raised him to value intelligence, creativity, and individuality. When reading aloud, they always did the voices.
At the University of Oregon, William made questionable choices, including willfully selecting classes for the interesting stories they promised, rather than for any practical application. When he wasn’t frivolously playing with words, he earned credits in such meaningful courses as Trampoline, Juggling, and Seventeenth Century Italian Longsword. These dubious decisions notwithstanding, he regrets nothing and now holds degrees in English and education with certificates in creative writing and folklore.
He currently teaches high school language arts, including reading and writing, mythology and heroes. He is a proud husband and father. When reading aloud, he always does the voices.
Jackaby is his first novel. It was born in the middle of the night and written on two different hemispheres. It has survived typhoons and hurricanes and was fostered into publication through the patient care of many hands.