Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Things in Jars” as Want to Read:
Things in Jars
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Things in Jars

by
4.17  ·  Rating details ·  830 ratings  ·  235 reviews
In the dark underbelly of Victorian London, a formidable female sleuth is pulled into the macabre world of fanatical anatomists and crooked surgeons while investigating the kidnapping of an extraordinary child in this gothic mystery—perfect for fans of The Essex Serpent and The Book of Speculation.

Bridie Devine—female detective extraordinaire—is confronted with the most baffl
...more
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Expected publication: February 4th 2020 by Atria Books (first published April 4th 2019)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Things in Jars, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Vicki The US publishing date is showing as February 4, 2020. I think we're looking at an author with an original publishing from the U.K. and maybe you're…moreThe US publishing date is showing as February 4, 2020. I think we're looking at an author with an original publishing from the U.K. and maybe you're in the U.S.?(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  830 ratings  ·  235 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Things in Jars
Paromjit
Jess Kidd shifts direction in her 3rd novel setting it in Victorian times with its inherent brutality and inhumanity, teeming with villains, murderers, the arrogance of killing medics, and ruthless amoral gentlemen anatomy collectors, hungry for what should not be alive. There are Things in Jars, with their ability to disturb the natural order of things, life and death, ashes to ashes, time in supension, pickling yesterday, holding eternity in a jar. Into this latest historical novel, Kidd bring ...more
Nilufer Ozmekik
Five stars and a statue goes to best portrayed Victorian London book !
This is incredible combination of humor, kitsch, folklore with the writer’s talented and never ending imagination.
We meet one of the most interesting heroines, Bride Devine , a woman detective, wearing a dagger strapped to her thigh, smoking pipe, solving murders by reading corpses and talking with ghosts.
It seems like one of the heroes , also the part of love triangle is Ruby Doyle, champion boxer who is also dead.

Mostly
...more
Meredith
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
“Here is time held in suspension. Yesterday pickled. Eternity in a jar.”

In Things in Jars, A 7-foot tall bearded parlor maid, mythical sea monsters, a ghost, and a winter mermaid are all brought together by a female pipe-smoking detective in Victorian London to solve the kidnapping of a mysterious child.


When a child with supposed supernatural powers is kidnapped, Detective Bridie Devine is commissioned to find her. Bridie's sleuthing abilities lead her into the dark underbelly of nineteenth-
...more
Amalia Gavea
‘’Below her, streets and lanes, factories and workhouses, parks and prisons, ground houses and tenements, roofs, chimneys and treetops. And the winding, sometimes shining, Thames- the sky’s own dirty mirror. The raven leaves the river behind and charts a path to a chapel on a hill with a spire and a clock tower. She circles the chapel and lands on the roof with a shuffling of wings. She pecks at brickwork, at lichen, at moth casts, at nothing. She sidles up to a gargoyle and runs her beak affec ...more
Kevin Ansbro
But a mermaid has no tears, and therefore she suffers so much more.
—Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Mermaid


I'm a huge fan of Jess Kidd's exquisite, playful writing and KERPOW, what a start! Her vivid prologue was one of the finest things I've read in a long, long time. Gadzooks! That alone was worth the entrance fee.

The book is set in a Victorian London that Dickens might have portrayed: one which is theatrically grotesque and wonderfully atmospheric - whose slums are as lively as a bl
...more
Phrynne
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-2019
Jess Kidd is now officially one of my most favourite authors. Three beautiful books in a row with not a fault in any of them. What more to ask for.

Things in Jars moves us away from the author's usual locations in Ireland and off to London. Of course our main characters are still beautifully Irish and, also of course, one of them is a ghost. Kidd describes Victorian London perfectly with all its horrors and its smells and its poverty among the lower classes.

Her characters too are all
...more
Collin
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sir Edmund Berwick is a collector. A collector of what exactly? Well, he has a keen interest in the abnormal. The mutated, the grotesque, life that is somehow, and the larger the difference the better, different to the norm and this life must live in, or around water. So, if you are a mutated, abnormal, grotesque form of water-born life in the vicinity of Sir Edmund, be very careful, you may become the latest edition to his collection. And so, the mystery of the title is explained swiftly.
...more
Hannah Greendale
When the who, what, where, when, why and how are all revealed in the prologue, there's not much mystery or intrigue to be had. Kidd leaves a few too many loose ends, delivers a murky assault midway through the book, offers up a hackneyed villain, and never quite clarifies some relationships between characters, yet she crafts such an unusual world one can't help but keep turning pages. Water dripping down walls, snails migrating en masse, a girl of alabaster skin whose bite is venemous, a ghost w ...more
Ova - Excuse My Reading
So full of emotions to review now. Soon.
Sonja Arlow
4.5 stars

Jess Kidd is officially one of my favourite authors. She has the ability to mix dark and quirky into a strange but unique blend.

The story follows Bridie, an anomaly, in an era where women are supposed to be barefoot and pregnant at home. She is a self-made detective assisting the local coppers with investigations, especially when there is a dead corpse rotting somewhere.

Bridie, who favours questionable tobacco at best, cannot always trust what she sees but wheth
...more
Rebecca
In the autumn of 1863 Bridie Devine, female detective extraordinaire, is tasked with finding the six-year-old daughter of a baronet. Problem is, this missing girl is no ordinary child, and collectors of medical curiosities and circus masters alike are interested in acquiring her.

In its early chapters this delightful Victorian pastiche reminded me of a cross between Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith and Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, and that comparison played out pretty well in the remainder.
...more
Sarah-Hope
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, netgalley
When I reached the halfway point in Things in Jars, I deliberately started to ration my reading so I wouldn't finish it too quickly. Now that I'm done reading it, I feel all twitchy hoping for a follow-up soon-soon-soon. Things in Jars is just that good.

Things in Jars offers a delightful historical fiction/mystery/fantasy melange with characters who are utterly real and whose relationships I found myself caring deeply about. Early on, on "detective" Bridie, who does some work for Sco
...more
Renee Godding
5/5 stars

"Here is time held in suspension.
Yesterday pickled.
Eternity in a jar."


Another fantastic work by Jess Kids: this was amazing! The perfect mix of modern gothic literature with a hint of the supernatural and unsettling, enveloped by the vivid setting of 19th century London.

If you enjoyed The Essex Serpent or The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock and are still looking for the perfect novel to read this October, this one is for you!
Full review to come at a later time.
Tania
I have many favorite authors, but few that make me wish that I could write like them. Jess Kidd does just that. I have no aspirations of ever writing a book, but this author's unique, delightful, quirky and humorous writing is so original that it makes me wish for talents I did not even know I wanted.

In this Victorian detective tale, Bridie Devine, a resourceful, pipe-smoking, corpse reading private detective, tries to solve the case of the kidnapping of the daughter of a baronet. Ch
...more
Marianne
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Things In Jars is the third novel by London-born author, Jess Kidd. Irish widow(?) and investigator, Bridie Devine doesn’t believe in ghosts, but deceased champion boxer and tattooed seafarer Ruby Doyle is hanging around, insisting she knows him and generally distracting her from a case she needs to solve. Six-year-old Christabel Berwick, the secret child of Sir Edmund Berwick, was taken from her Windsor home in the dead of night. He wants her found, discreetly, without fuss. No Police!
...more
Leslie Ray
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bridie Devine is a female detective in Victorian London with medical skills honed while she was a young girl. The secrets and horrors of her time spent in a maladjusted household, during her tenure as laboratory assistant to Dr John Eames at Albery Hall. Unfortunately, the evil, heartless Gideon, son of Dr Eames, was a merciless adversary during her time there and becomes an equally murderous nemesis as we find he plays a role in her search for a young girl who has been kidnapped. In fact, sever ...more
Lucy Banks
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rich, evocative and with a cast of irresistible characters.

I loved Jess Kidd's The Hoarder, so was thrilled to bits to receive her latest book for review. The Hoarder, for me, was a stand-out book because of its richness and strength of narrative voice, and this is very much the case in Things in Jars too.

Without giving too much away, Bridie is a flame-haired, no-nonsense kind of lady, who happens to investigate missing children and can a/>Rich,
...more
Andy Weston
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jess Kidd’s last two books have been amongst my favourites of recent years, symbolised by her dry Irish wit and observations on life and its memorable characters. Here though, she takes something of a deviation with a Victorian thriller; a novel in which the plot is more important and the humour plays less of a role, though it’s still present.
In common to her previous work, there is a distinctive set of characters.
Bridie Devine, her detective, “A small, round upright woman of around thirty”. H
...more
Melki
Review to come.
Anna Luce
★★★✰✰ 3 stars

Throughout Things in Jars Jess Kidd showcases her creativity. This novel imbues its mystery with an intriguing mixture of fantasy and science.
Kidd's main character is a tour de force. Bridie Devine is an experienced detective. Her strength, her resilience, and her sharp-wit, made her into an incredibly compelling character. Her relationship with Cora, her 'second in command' who is about 7ft tall, provided a lot of heart-warming scenes. Their interactions were funny and consolidated the depiction of her friendship.
At the statall,/>Kidd's
...more
MariaWitBook
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this is a so called Victorian book! If you have the patience to read it it will prove to be one of the best books you ever read! So cleaver and funny and sad. Beautiful
SueLucie
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Central to this story of the hunt for a stolen child is the Victorian fascination with curiosities, particularly anatomical oddities, both as entertainment in circus settings and as subjects for scientific research. Six-year-old Christabel, with her unusual physical characteristics and reputed supernatural powers, would be a prized acquisition for such collectors and it falls to the redoubtable Bridie to rescue her before she falls into their hands. Jess Kidd writes consistently interesting char ...more
Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
This was my first Jess Kidd novel but certainly won’t be my last. It surprised me with joy from the very first page. Told in a light, playful, elastic and honestly moving prose, it managed to walk on just the right side of whimsy (most of the time) and delivered character and atmosphere in spades.

Things In Jars is the story of Bridie Devine, part detective, part surgeon, who lives a quietly eccentric life with her housemaid Cora in 1860s London. She’s gets by removing warts and taking out teeth
...more
Resh (The Book Satchel)
Rating 4.5 stars
Absolutely fantastic! Jess Kidd is so brill with her words
L A
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Canongate and Netgalley for the Advance Review Copy.

What to say about this book? How does one describe perfection?

“The child looks up. For the first time she can see the stars!

She smiles at them, and the stars look back at her and shiver.

Then they begin to burn brighter, with renewed fever, in the deep dark ocean of the sky.”

This appears in the first few pages. You know when you read writing like this that you are in for a rea
...more
Rhian Pritchard
I love Jess Kidd’s style. I love the characters, I love the way the story pans out, I love the balance of gothic horror, folklore, humour and humanity. It’s not a favourite, there’s nothing totally extraordinary about it, but it’s a damn good book.
Kristi Lamont
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. I am beside myself about this book, just as much as with Himself. Jess Kidd is Ireland Incarnate. She is not making up stories, she is reliving them on the page from a past life. I forgive her, forever, for having a bit of a down stretch with Mr Flood/Hoarders, whatever title you read it under.

I'm giddy. I'm gushing. I am going to come back to this tomorrow and try to say something sensible. But in the meantime? Oh my God. While reading this I got to
...more
Lady R
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A gorgeously written novel set in my favourite time period: deepest darkest Victorian London. Except unusually and refreshingly for this period we have a gutsy bold female lead character - I loved Birdie Devine!

Kidd is a master at description and setting and I also loved the darker aspects of this novel. It’s similar in theme to The Mermaid & Mrs Hancock and The Essex Serpent; two novels I also adored so for me, perhaps because I am a bit “done” now with these settings/themes for a while I
...more
Karen Mace
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Move over Sherlock, Bridie Devine is the new super sleuth in town and I adore her! Jess Kidd has created another dark and wonderful tale set in Victorian times that explores the disturbing disappearance of a young girl, who has been kept hidden away because she's 'different' - she feeds on snails, has an unusual appearance and is also said to possess powers. The family she is stolen from are never too forthcoming with details about her, so it's left to Bridie to uncover the dark story behind you ...more
Kathleen
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jess Kidd may just be my new favorite author. This is the third book I have read by the author and I sent all the way to the UK to have this pretty little hardcover sent to me. So I was joyful to dig into it and I felt that same joy while reading it. This is an odd little story. But I think all of Jess Kidd's stories are odd. And I love that! In this one though, I think one of the stars of the story, was the city of London. Wow, is the author talented in conveying atmosphere! In this book we fol ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Bone China
  • The Doll Factory
  • Wakenhyrst
  • Shadowplay
  • The Confessions of Frannie Langton
  • The Rapture
  • The Warlow Experiment
  • The Confession
  • The Art of Dying
  • The Familiars
  • The Ghost Factory
  • A Thousand Ships
  • The Lost Ones
  • Blood & Sugar
  • My Name is Monster
  • Crushed
  • The Language of Birds
  • Starve Acre
See similar books…
647 followers
Jess Kidd was brought up in London as part of a large family from county Mayo and has been praised for her unique fictional voice. Her debut, Himself, was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards in 2016. She won the Costa Short Story Award the same year. Her second novel, The Hoarder, published as Mr. Flood's Last Resort in the U.S. and Canada was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Y ...more
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »