When Abigail Rook arrives in New Fiddleham in 1892, she’s looking for adventure more than anything. When she meets R. F. Jackaby, a quirky investigator who claims he can see unworldly beings, she gets more than she craved for when she ends up in a world of foul creatures and a series of dead bodies.
The story is told from Abigail Rook’s point of view, a young woman who has run away from her family and responsibilities in order to see the world. With a few misfortunes behind her, she is taken on as Jackaby’s assistant (on probation) after encountering him at the local pub. She does what she can to keep up with his whimsical way of conducting his profession and as she follows him deeper and deeper into a magical web of trails, she begins to understand how he sees the world. But it’s not easy for the pair to get the job done when the police sees Jackaby as a joke and a killer on the loose is leaving weird clues behind – clues that can’t possibly belong to any human being.
It’s hard to rate Jackaby since I was entertained while reading but the story itself wasn’t that special. I enjoyed the peculiar aspects and the twist on a Sherlock Holmes-esque detective but other than that, it was a simple crime story. I had the murderer pinned down rather quickly and I’m not sure if that says something about the quality of the mystery or if I was just lucky to catch on to a hint early on.
The story is beyond fast-paced as the entire mystery takes place in the course of only a few days. This seems very rushed and doesn’t provide much room for getting to know the characters that well. However, I’m intrigued to see where this series will go and how the characters will develop later on so I’m definitely going to pick up the next book and hopefully it will have a deeper story since the world has already been introduced to us.
I would recommend Jackaby to someone who’s looking for a cozy mystery novel with a cool old-school setting that’s not too complicated and has a touch of magic within the pages.
Page count: 299
Goodreads rating: 3.8/5