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The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman
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The Ruby in the Smoke (1985)

by Philip Pullman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Sally Lockhart Quartet (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,205821,734 (3.75)143
  1. 60
    A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee (Anonymous user, Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: Both stories are Victorian-era mysteries with smart and feisty female protagonists. Pullman's trilogy is definitely the darker of the two series, but Lee's complex and capable protagonist makes The Agency series well worth a read for cozy mystery lovers.… (more)
  2. 10
    The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (Aleana)
  3. 32
    A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (norabelle414)
    norabelle414: Excellent Victorian era historical fiction mysteries with strong female protagonists
  4. 00
    The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer (Aleana)
  5. 00
    The Extraordinary and Unusual Adventures of Horatio Lyle by Catherine Webb (HatsForMice)
    HatsForMice: Another Victorian London-set mystery, but with a fantasy element, more humour and a stronger sense of setting.
  6. 00
    Les étranges soeurs Wilcox, Tome 1 : Les vampires de Londres by Fabrice Colin (Aleana)
  7. 00
    The Affinity Bridge by George Mann (rosylibrarian)
  8. 00
    The Broken Bridge by Philip Pullman (norabelle414)
  9. 00
    The Escape From Home by Avi (nocowardsoul)
  10. 00
    The Musician's Daughter by Susanne Dunlap (sweetiegherkin)
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» See also 143 mentions

English (78)  French (3)  Dutch (1)  All (82)
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
This is the first of Philip Pullman’s Victorian mystery novels featuring Sally Lockhart. She is 16-years-old in this story, her father has just died in a shipwreck, and she finds herself in the middle of nefarious dealings involving a missing ruby, criminal gangs, fraud, piracy, and the opium trade.
Because the protagonist is young, this is often considered a Young Adult novel. Don’t let this mislead you. This is a well-crafted tale of mystery, murder, and intrigue. The characters are engaging. The prose is exceptional.
Victorian England is a great setting for stories because of the sharp contrasts it provides -- from the largely illiterate poor working in sweatshops or grubbing a living on the streets of London, to the cultured gentry living on returns from investments of inherited capital. The extraordinary portrayal of this time and the details scattered throughout the scenes in this book make it seem as if they were written by someone who lived there, or who is, at least, intimately familiar with it and can bring it to life for those of us who are not.
I often find myself uncomfortable putting novels in predefined genre cubbyholes because the best of them often don’t fit. This is one. I think the YA categorization of this particular book and the rest of the series is most inappropriate. Sally is not a typical teenager and she is not a typical Victorian young lady. Neither is she a role model many people would want their kids to emulate, although I, as and adult, found her admirable. She defies convention, questions authority, and does her best in a bad situation.
The story is dark, at times, darker than I normally prefer, and although a hopeful conclusion comes a bit unexpectedly, it is not a case of “and they all lived happily ever after.”
In my opinion, this ranks among the best Victorian mystery novels that I have read. The story is suspenseful, the characters are well portrayed and believable, and the protagonist is likeable. I highly recommend it -- for adults. (Some kids may like it, too.)
( )
  DLMorrese | Oct 14, 2016 |
I was very very fond of this book. Some of the themes were heavier than I expected for a YA book, but I can't wait to read more of the Sally Lockhart books. Pullman is just marvelous. ( )
  Kristin_Curdie_Cook | Apr 29, 2016 |
I probably don't need to read another one. This was a good adventure but I think I didn't care for it as an audiobook. ( )
  bjoelle5 | Feb 10, 2016 |
Now, this was a good book! Had to read it in one sitting! Although marketed as a YA novel, the gloves are off - it's a gritty, realistic murder-mystery adventure. Our heroine, recently orphaned Sally Lockhart is a very mature, feisty and self-reliant 16, and the villainous characters she encounters while trying to unravel the cryptic clues she receives regarding her father's death and the whereabouts of a fabulous ruby are truly malevolent ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
The story of a cursed ruby, opion addiction and a girl caught in the middle by the death of her father

The story reminded me of The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins ( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philip Pullmanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Benson, LindaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lesser, AntonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mak, KamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stutzman, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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On a cold, fretful afternoon in early October, 1872, a hansom cab drew up outside the offices of Lockhart and Selby, Shipping Agents in the financial heart of London, and a young girl got out and paid the driver.
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Book description
Soon after Sally Lockhart's father drowns at sea, she receives a strange anonymous letter. The dire warning it contains makes a man die of fear at her feet. Determined to discover the truth about her father's death, Sally is plunged into a terrifying mystery in the dark heart of Victorian London, at the centre of which lie a deadly blood-soaked jewel.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0394895894, Mass Market Paperback)

"Her name was Sally Lockhart; and within fifteen minutes, she was going to kill a man." Philip Pullman begins his Sally Lockhart trilogy with a bang in The Ruby in the Smoke--a fast-paced, finely crafted thriller set in a rogue- and scalawag-ridden Victorian London. His 16-year-old heroine has no time for the usual trials of adolescence: her father has been murdered, and she needs to find out how and why. But everywhere she turns, she encounters new scoundrels and secrets. Why do the mere words "seven blessings" cause one man to keel over and die at their utterance? Who has possession of the rare, stolen ruby? And what does the opium trade have to do with it?

As our determined and intelligent sleuth sets her mind to unraveling these dark mysteries, she learns how embroiled she is in the whole affair. As riveting and witty as the sensational "penny dreadfuls" of Victorian England (but thousands of times better written), Pullman's trilogy (including The Shadow in the North and The Tiger in the Well) will have readers on the edges of their seats. Ruby is an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. (Ages 12 and older) --Karin Snelson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:05 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

In nineteenth-century London, sixteen-year-old Sally, a recent orphan, becomes involved in deadly search for a mysterious ruby.

» see all 10 descriptions

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