Flashback: Jackaby by William Ritter
If you took Sherlock Holmes and crossed him with Newt Scamander you'd get Mr. R. F. Jackaby.
This book was pure fun!
It's 1892 and Abigail Rook has left her boarding school to follow in her father's footsteps and join an expedition to the Carpathian Mountains. But her dreams of finding new dinosaur species are quickly dashed and instead, she spent months digging holes and living in uncomfortable conditions. When she finally has enough, she leaves the mountains and tries to find passage home only to realize that her ship is going in the wrong direction. Now in America, Abigail needs to find a place to live and a job to help buy time before she has to face her parents again. Not long after leaving the ship, Abigail encounters an unusual gentleman who appears to know more about her than he should.
After a fruitless job search, Abigail sees an interesting job posting for an assistant at a detective agency. Why is she not to stare at the frog? Because staring at the frog makes him mad causing a foul smelling gas cloud. As the cloud becomes more dense, the mysterious man is back and on his way out the door. Chasing after him to both collect more information and outrun the gas, Abigail learns that our mysterious man is the detective R. F. Jackaby. Having a job interview while investigating a crime scene is quite the experience for Abigail. But Abigail isn't easily scared and does her best to impress her potential new boss. But it's the boss that impresses Abigail. Jackaby claims he can see mysterious and unusual creatures and seems to have a strained relationship with the police. After seeing the condition of the murder victim, strange creatures are the only option for murder suspect and Abigail goes on to meet a ghost, a duck who used to be a man, a werewolf, and a woman who no one can see but them. Trying to solve this crime puts everyone in danger and Abigail finds herself way in over her head.
This book is full of adventure, mysterious creatures and even more mysterious people. I really liked the characters and how there is not a love story between Abigail and Jackaby. It's nice that her character didn't start swooning over the first guy who was nice to her.
Jackaby's house is a character in it's own right-there is a pond on the third floor. Like a real pond. It's also home to a ghost and a duck that used to be Jackaby's assistant Douglass. I'm sure there's even more that we'll learn about as the series continues. And Jackaby is so used to his wacky way of life that he completely forgets to introduce Abigail to his housemates and doesn't explain anything. It's a great book and amazing start to a series!
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