“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 William Ritter’s debut novel, which features a detective of the paranormal as seen through the eyes of his adventurous and intelligent assistant in a tale brimming with cheeky humor and a dose of the macabre.

Audiobook Review

4,5 stars

Why did I wait so long before reading/listening to that little jewel? If not for my friend Brittany on Bookstagram, I wouldn’t have tried it and I would have passed a brilliant book!

It does not hurt that the narrator is Nicola Barber, who also narrated one of my favorite series of all time: Stalking Jack the Ripper!

It seems that Mrs Barber is perfect for narrating historical mysteries with a dash of paranormal and quirky sense of humor!

This book was so deliciously odd and kooky!

It’s a blend of adventure, mystery, paranormal, humor and quaint characters!

In this first instalment, we follow Miss Abigail Rook, freshly landed in the US from Europe, with very little penny in her pocket but a big thirst for adventure.

Abigail has always wanted to live an adventure, to follow her dad who was always going abroad but her family thought it was not a place for a woman.

That’s why Abigail rebelled and fled her home, taking a detour to unearth dinosaurs in Eastern Europe before heading to the USA.

Abigail is desperately looking for a job when an add at the post office will send her on Jackaby’s doorstep.

Must be literate and possess a keen intellect and open mind.
Strong stomach preferred.
Inquire at 926 Augur Lane.
Do not stare at the frog.”

Jackaby has a reputation. He is a detective of sort, specialized in paranormal phenomenon.

Desperate to convince him to hire her, Abigail will follow Jackaby to a homicide scene and…the adventure will begin! With many threats and dangerous developments as a killer is on the loose. But Abigail will face danger head on!

“I guess I forgot about being frightened because it felt good to finally be in the adventure.”

I guessed pretty early on “who did it” for once but the pleasure truly resided in the eccentric character of Jackaby, lost in his own world filled with trolls, banshee, werewolves that few others could see mixed with the spunk of Miss Rook!

Abigail was a very determined, observant and astute young woman and she fit right in Jackaby’s adventures. This gave us a “Sherlock/Watson” feel. Or as someone said “Doctor Who meets Sherlock”.

We also get interesting side characters, with a sweet ghost and a man turned duck…among other things.

Told from Abigail’s POV, we don’t really know if the hero of the book is Jackaby, like the title would suggest or …Abigail!

It’s quirky, intriguing, captivating and has a real signature of its own. I listened to the book in one day! And immediately ordered the sequel and the whole series in hardback!

Here are some favorite quotes:

“I excused myself to go see a duck about a dress.”

“Maybe if you would bother reading a book once in a while instead of hurling them about every chance you get, you would have put the pieces together yourself by now”

Thanks for reading!


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  1. I read this a few years ago and loved it! But I never continued the series for some reason. There’s at least three books and maybe more.