Shadow in the Plate Paperback – Jun 1986
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Six years after solving the mysteries surrounding the death of her father (in The Ruby in the Smoke), Sally Lockhart has set up her own consulting business. But her photographer friend, Fred Garland, has a habit of drawing her into his private detective work owing to her skill in both finances and firearms. When one of Sally's clients loses a large sum of money invested in a shipping firm and Fred encounters a conjurer on the lam from underworld thugs, the two begin to find links in these apparently disparate cases.
Exquisitely written and packed with a wonderfully diverse, often terrifying cast of characters and dark twists and turns of plot, the second installment of the Sally Lockhart trilogy--an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a Booklist Editors' Choice, and a nominee for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Mystery--is entirely impossible to put down. Make sure book 3, The Tiger in the Well, is close at hand as you near the end of this one. (Ages 12 and older) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Readers first met the intelligent, inquisitive and independent Sally Lockhart in The Ruby in the Smoke. Now comes this second brilliant bauble, perhaps more foreboding and terrifying than the first, thanks to Pullman's care in creating lively, superheroic characters and then, just as heroically, killing them off. Six years after the close of the first book, Sallynow 22 and still galloping over Victorian conventionsis embroiled in high-level business and government fraud; lest this sound dry, there is also a secret weapon ("the shadow" of the title) under development north of London that, in this setting, is as threatening as a nuclear arsenal. The mystery has many more tangled elements than the first tale, but they are all untangled and quite elegantly tied up; readers will weep at the deeds of true villainy and smile through their tears at the close, as they are offered Sally's radiant look to the future, to unfold in a promised final volume of the trilogy. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book, like everything else by the same author, suffers from egregious logic lapses. In this case it's that a weapon "too terrible to be used" would be a gun that ran on railroad tracks, since it could be used by a government against its own population. This, of course, would only work in a country where the population was too dumb to think of blowing up the railroad tracks.
Two of the main characters from _Ruby in the Smoke_, the preceding book, are missing without a trace and they never get mentioned. It's as if the author had broken up with them and didn't want to talk about it. The connection to the preceding book is tenuous, not to say non-existent.
Aside from the graphic sex which is probably acceptable in children's books these days, and the fact that all of the characters are adults and that much of the plot hinges on financial and stock market concerns, the main character loses her dog and her fiance in graphic violence. I guess that sort of thing doesn't upset most child readers, but it sure isn't my idea of fun. I really wish I'd spent the time I spent reading this book reading something else.
I guess the intention of the books is to mirror the "penny dreadfuls" that one of the characters is always reading. Well, the book costs more than a penny, but other than that I'd say it was a success.
Sally's friend Jim is back in the book which is good since he's the best developed male in all three books. How can you not like someone as verbally prolific as Jim who describes the case (and the book itself) as "There's fraud, there's financial jiggery-pokery, there's spiritualistic humbug, there's all kinds of wickedness, maybe worse." Later when Sally gives him a sisterly kiss, he remarks "That's better than a whisticaster in the rattlers (a smack in the gob)".
Sally's still friends with the Garlands, who own a photographic studio and detective agency. Fred Garland develops into a love interest.
One day, a retired school teacher tells Sally that her advice for the teacher to invest in a company has had disastrous results. I had to wonder if they had heard of diversification in those days since the teacher had "put all her eggs in one basket". I was also surprised Sally didn't know the company had gone bankrupt, but those are minor points. Sally resolves to look into the matter. Her investigations bring her threats and dastardly deeds from the owner of the bankkrupt company. It develops that her investigation has links to one Fred Garland has ongoing involving a weasel like magician and other mediums who are necessary to provide enough clues to lead the intrepid investigators in the right direction.
The clues are too convenient, the bad guys aren't too belivable, the plot twists a bit too contrived, but it doesn't matter.Read more ›
I'll leave the plot summaries to other reviewers; it's enough to say that it's a lively and political mystery / thriller and its coincidences, while implausible, do not betray their own internal logic. Pullman is first and foremost an observer of character, and what makes this book something that makes me, a 29-year-old guy who tends to read much more austere stuff, take notice, is the sheer aliveness of the characters. There's Sally, of course, a resolutely feminist young woman whose resolve and determination are surely of her time, even if some of her anxieties and dilemmas seem more resonant with the present than Victorian England; Frederick, her friend and peer who she loves, and with whom she argues helplessly and often; Jim, their young, streetwise friend, who is capable, brave, and eminently self-aware; and a large cast of supporting characters, many of them women, who are sharply limned and full of their own stories. The fact that Sally is living out what would have been, at best,a Victorian woman's fantasy is dealt with elsewhere; the fact that huge swathes of the dialogue is anachronistic is irrelevant.Read more ›
The story follows Sally some years later after The Ruby in the Smoke, now a financial consultant with her own company.
One of Sally's clients come to her one day, losing a large sum of money that her brother left her, due to the collapse of a company she invested in. Sally, of course, is totally outraged, and sets out to investigate the cause of this collapse and get her client back the money.
Following this, a complicated plot of twists and turns come up, involving a very troubled "magician," Mackinnon, who is being followed around by men, attempting to murder him after he witnessed a murder through his psychic powers, the powerful man, Mr. Bellman, who is suspected by Sally to have made the company collapse and is attempting to kill Mackinnon, with more new characters including Lady Mary, Nellie Bly, Isabel Meredith, Lord Wyneth, and old characters including Fred and Jim - all twisted into this mystery and the new invention of a Steam Gun.
This book is a two thumbs up thriller and totally heart-wrenching (I'm not saying anything, but I was practically crying at the end). It was tragic and excellent. I loved it!
Most recent customer reviews
Philip Pullman shows us his incredible abiltity to weave a fantastic mystery once again in the Shadow in the North. Read morePublished on June 9 2002
If you enjoyed A Ruby in the Smoke you will love the sequel, Shadow in the North. Philip Pullman again uses his extraordinary ability to write mystery books. Read morePublished on April 22 2002 by Amanda from Illinois
... Philip Pullman is probably THE best male author I have ever read, and this series is one of my favorites. Read morePublished on April 18 2002
I really enjoyed the whole trilogy, but this was definately the best!
The story was really well thought out and written in a pleasing tone. Read more
In the second book of this wonderful triolgy Sally Lockhart has set out to retrieve a large sum of money one of her clients has lost. Read morePublished on March 8 2002 by Chole
This book was really good but the ending could have used a little work. It was not as good as the Ruby in the Smoke but if you read that you have to read this book. Read morePublished on Jan. 19 2002 by firstname.lastname@example.org
I really liked this book and would reccomend it to anyone who likes a mystery or a triller. Sally Lockhart is one of the most interesting characters I have ever read. Read morePublished on Aug. 30 2001 by sehrish ranjha
The Shadow in the North follows on from Philip Pullman's 'The Ruby in The Smoke'. Sally Lockhard is no longer 16, she's a young, fiercly independent woman with a mystery to... Read morePublished on Aug. 23 2001 by grahamer