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Things in Jars

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  4,604 ratings  ·  1,084 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 mysteryperfect for fans of The Essex Serpent and The Book of Speculation.

Bridie Devinefemale detective extraordinaireis confronted with the most
Hardcover, 373 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by Atria Books (first published April 4th 2019)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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Nilufer Ozmekik
Five stars and a statue goes to best portrayed Victorian London book !
This is incredible combination of humor, kitsch, folklore with the writers 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.

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 ...more
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
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 skys 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 ...more
Holly  B

A dark, bizarre and fanciful world 

Imaginative storytelling that was menacing, detailed and plotted to perfection.

I was quickly captivated by the gothic setting and the missing child investigation. The female detective, Birdie Devine specializes in domestic investigations and minor surgery. She was a fantastic character that brought humor and humanity to the tale.

The supernatural elements and fairytale esque cast of characters kept me glued to the pages and immersed in their quest for
Will Byrnes
A cloth covers the jar that Bridie took from the bookcase in the nursery, and Ruby is thankful for this. For the contents have the ability to rearrange even a dead mans sense of reality. As with all terrible, wondrous sights, there is a jolt of shock, then a hypnotic fascination, then the uneasy queasiness, then the whole thing starts again; the desire to look and the desire never to have looked in the first place.
1860s London, the prime of the Victorian age. About fifteen years before
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My first five star read of 2020

From the first sentence, you know this book is going to be different. As pale as a grave grub, shes an eyeful. The writing is just gorgeous, in that Victorian, Dickensian fashion. Think Dickens matched with Grimms Fairy Tales. Or Dickens if he was smoking hashish ( or one of Prudhoes blends) and into Irish folktales.

I loved the characters: Bridie, part sleuth, part doctor (untrained), Cora, her seven foot maid with a beautiful baritone voice and Ruby, a dead boxer
Chelsea Humphrey
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chelsea by: Atria Books
BOTM pick January 2020!

Absolutely breathtaking. I must read more from Jess Kidd ASAP! While the mystery of the disappeared girl is front and foremost in this tale, I felt that the idea of our fascination with creatures and humans different from the norm, and our desire to contain them, was a huge theme explored as well. This was a timely, thought-provoking read, and although it took me a bit to get through this one, it was well worth the time taken to read it.

*Many thanks to the publisher for
Jan 21, 2020 rated it liked it
2.5/2.75 rounded up

Bridie Devine is a female detective in Victorian London. One day she is approached to investigate the case of a missing girl, Christabel - the secret child of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick. She is reported to have supernatural powers. Bridie is hot on the case; she lost her last missing child and is determined to save this one. Her search for the girls is aided by her seven-foot-tall housemaid, and a tattoo covered ghost.

Sounds interesting, right? Well, it was...but there is a
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Meeting Birdie Devine, a female investigator, who in 1863 receives an offer from a baronet to find hs kidnapped daughter, was a pleasure. More than that, I was delighted to get acquainted with her and follow her efforts to uncover the truth behind the abduction. She is observant, intelligent, has no fear of the dead or alive, with one exception, perhaps, and she has been through a lot in life. And she is accompanied by a former boxer who, though dead, gives some advice, occasionally.
I loved
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
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 larger than
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, reviewed, vine
"As pale as a grave grub, she's an eyeful."
"She's pretty.
"She's more than pretty. She's a churchyard angel, a marble carving, with her ivory curls and pale, pale stony eyes. But not stone -- brightening pearl, oh soft hued!"

On this beautifully delicate, intriguing note Jess Kidd sings us into this fascinating novel in which most people and things are anything but pale or angelic. This is Victorian London, 1863, post Burke & Hare. 'Burking" is now a verb, corpses and body parts and nature's
Feb 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Things In Jars starts off with Bridie, a private detective, being presented with a most baffling case. Sir Berwick's daughter has been kidnapped and he wants her found, but he won't share any relevant information with Bridie, including why he keeps her hidden away. So what's Sir Berwick hiding? The more Bridie learns, the more unusual this puzzle becomes. She prowls around dirty Victorian London trying to piece this together, accompanied by a motley crew, including a faithful ghost companion, a ...more
Indeed, a great and greatly entertaining book featuring colourful characters in Victorian London female detective Bridie, her giant housekeeper and sidekick, a ghost boxer and a wondrous child who attracts the weirdest marine life. A mystery, a fantasy, a crime novel, all in one. Quirky, funny and interesting. More to follow, 4.2! Interesting author, will definitely check out her other books.
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A Victorian detective novel set in London, 1863..
This cast of characters is something else! Bridie, a red haired Irish woman..pipe smoking, a small and tough broad and her sidekick, a ghost named Ruby Doyle (especially loved these two)
Bridie is on a case to solve the kidnapping of six year old Cristabel Berwick, an oddity of nature who has pike like teeth, who smells of the sea and draws peoples memories out of them.

Jess Kidd is an amazing writer!
This is her third book and Ive enjoyed them
Feb 05, 2020 rated it liked it
2.5 Stars rounded up to 3

I was lured into reading this book by the setting of Victorian London, the promise of gothic suspense, and a grand, almost poetic writing style. The final selling point was my Goodreads friend Paromjit's magnificent 5 Star review. The writing style was grandiose, indeed. While often beautiful, atmospheric and descriptive, it sometimes left me feeling like it was too much work reading it. In addition, I had trouble keeping track of all the characters, nor did I much care
Norma * Traveling Sister and proud Grandma!!!
This book was quite the different and interesting read. I was definitely intrigued with what I was reading but it was a little too much work to stay fully focused in though. I felt that it was a little too wordy at times and I wasn't invested enough in the characters for it to be an enjoyable read. I thought this was just an okay read.

Please take this review with a grain of salt as it looks like I am definitely the outlier here. So many others have really enjoyed this. Maybe it is this time
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have had Jess Kidd on my reading list for a long time. It was fun to finally dig into this gothic mystery.

Things in Jars reminded me a little of another book from Atria I read last year, The Doll Factory, because of the gothic darkness. This one had more fantasy elements and touches of whimsy, too, which I loved. I also enjoyed the Victorian London setting.

What a tough time to live in the city! Thieves, murderers, and medicine that was possibly more dangerous than helpful. My favorite aspect
Diane S ☔
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recipe: Throw in a very unusual detective named Bridie, her housekeeper Cora whom Bridie helped rescue from a freak show, and a ghost, an ex boxer who has a tattooed body, with tattoos that move, wearing only a top hat and baggy underdrawers. Add a missing child from a notable personage, the folk story of the merrow, one or two evil men, a unusual but helpful apothecary and freak shows and oddities galore. What one now has is a truly imaginative, inventive and entertaining look at a time when ...more
THINGS IN JARS by Jess Kidd is a gothic story set in Victorian London in the 1860s with a few flashback chapters in the 1830s and 1830s. Birdie Devine is a female detective that takes on domestic investigations and does minor surgeries. She has two cases, one given to her by Inspector Valentine Rose of Scotland Yard, and a second one when she is hired by Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick to find his kidnapped daughter.

Kidd des a great job of writing in such a way that you not only hear whats
Feb 03, 2020 rated it liked it
2.5 stars I enjoyed the setting, but the narration was tiresome. The unique imaginative elements were great and the vivid characters were interesting.

It is a whimsical tale with fluent descriptions. Because of the excessive descriptions, I was often not engaged. Each chapter would start out with lengthy descriptions before getting along to anything else. The pacing of detective work from chapter to chapter was slow moving; the case of the missing girl seemed to inch along.

To best honest, I
Jan 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: net-galley
My thanks to Atria books, Jess Kidd and Netgalley. I guess I'm going against the tide here, but I really didn't care for this book. I've tried this author once before, and it just wasn't my groove. This takes place in Victorian London, which for me is often iffy. It's a time period that I love reading about, but it's also a slightly disgusting time! I can read about murder and mayhem, but if someone throws their waste out of the window, then I'm just about gagging my guts out! So, I need ...more
What a strange book. Way too much description of excrement and the stench of human body parts...heck, way, way too much description all together. I did like the relationships between Bridie, Doyle, and Cora and I would have liked more of that with less of all the unneeded/unwanted verbiage over-describing the stinking city and ugly people. Too much violence happening to animals and people, it's just a sordid story overall. It was well written but overdone.

Having said all of that, I encourage

Have you reason to be bothering that corpse, madam?

it took me a damn long time to get through this book, which is the fate of pretty much anything i stupidly decide to read during the weeks leading up to christmas, so dont read anything into this admission; im just making with the context up-front. it is a gorgeous book, cover-wise* and content-wise, but it requires deserves a reader who isnt sluggish and overburdened. next holiday season, i am only reading airport thrillers.

Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review.

Such wonderful things come in jars.  Pickles, jalapeno peppers, a living heart, malformed sea creatures . . .  Can you hear the giggling wine bottles?  Stop for a moment and catch the waft of human misery, take note of the rats without eyes, and the sweet face of a little girl with an innocent smile that masks her pike teeth.  Grotesque is done to a tasty turn here. 

Bridie Devine is a most unusual investigator.  She reads corpses and can
DNF @ 50%.

So much for me to love about this novel. A dark 1800's Victorian London, a fearless and compassionate pipe-smoking, red-haired sleuth-type with a horror of a past....and a knack for reading corpses, an infatuated, muscled tattooed ghost man, a mysterious missing girl with piked teeth and unique supernatural more!

But.... had a difficult time staying focused. Time-line changes don't bother me, nor does a complex storyline, but the interspersed excessive descriptive

DNF 22%

I might have liked this story but I couldn't get past the overly ornate writing.

Definitely not my jar of tea.

** I recieved a ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion. **
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"London is awash with the freshly murdered...Bridie has a talent for the reading of corpses: the tale of life and death written on everybody." Bridie Devine, "a small, round, upright woman of around thirty...with ...vivid red hair tucked...inside her white widow's cap...might be called by Inspector Valentine Rose of Scotland Yard to determine the cause of a bizarre or inexplicable death. The "dark underbelly of Victorian London" in 1863 included kidnapping, a seemingly profitable venture. One ...more
Hannah Greendale
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
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The Little Book t...: Folder #1 Things in Jars by Jess Kidd 2 6 Feb 08, 2020 08:34PM  

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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 ...more

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