Bookish Discussions

Things in Jars | Victorian Detective Story with Scientific Twist

I was *really* intrigued by this, patiently waiting for its paperback release, but it didn’t live up to my expectations…A7B98D09-579B-45B0-9B23-82ED52E1FEDC.jpg

London, 1863. A strange puzzle has reached Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age. To recover a stole child, Bridie must enter the dark world of medical curiosities. The public love a spectacle and this child may as well prove the most remarkable spectacle London has ever seen.

I knew Things in Jars was about the so-called “curiosities” of people – the title gives that away – but I thought it would focus on disfigurements or disabilities, as these would have been true curiosities to the Victorians. I didn’t expect the fantastical element to the story, where the curiosities are things that are not entirely possible.

All I’m trying to say is: I thought Things in Jars would be a fun exploration of the growing interest in and understanding of Victorian science. In a way, it was, as it shone light on a certain movement in science, but the impossible element to it made it seem a little…off.

It just didn’t have the right feel to it, y’know?

I can totally understand why Jess Kidd might not have wrote it this way – it brings up some ethical questions, which would have been her downfall if done incorrectly, but I just thought it would shed light on how Victorian science viewed people who were different. Real different. Not made-up different.

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Bookish Discussions · Reviews

Agatha Christie Mini Reviews:

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DISCLAIMER: SPOILERS, SORRY!

Last year, on my inter-war year module at university, I was introduced to Agatha Christie. Since then, I’ve found myself more and more interested in her novels. Today, I thought I’d discuss two of her novels that I’ve recently read.

The first, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, I was asked to read for university. We were discussing the rise of crime fiction (otherwise known as the golden age of detective work) just after the First World War. In hindsight, I’m really glad I started off with this one. It was a fun read; the murder, the setting (the big, old English country house), and the characters were all truly riveting. After this, I read Christie’s most celebrated novel, Murder on the Orient Express. I wanted to read it before watching the new movie adaptation. Despite not enjoying it as much as the first, it was still a good read.

Let’s get into the mini reviews…


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Bookish Discussions · Reviews

Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None:

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DISCLAIMER: mild spoilers.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars | Read: 13 February – 14 February, 2018.

This was my third experience of Agatha Christie’s crime fiction, and I think it might just be my favourite. Prior to this, I’ve read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (which is a must-read) and The Murder on the Orient Express. Whereas I thoroughly enjoyed one, I thought the other quite average and unsatisfying, so I was eager to see how And Then There Were None would play out. I was already quite familiar with the story as I watched a play adaptation about four years ago but, thankfully, I had forgotten the murder details and the murderer’s identity. I just remember being completely on edge; I wanted to see if this would translate well with the written account and it really did. 

If you’re unfamiliar with this story, it’s one of Christie’s standard crime novels. This is classed as one of her ‘mysteries’ as there is no leading detective; no Poirot, and no Marple. As I don’t want to give away any spoilers, I shall rely on the Harper Collins’ blurb: ‘Ten strangers are lured to an isolated island mansion off the Devon coast by a mysterious “U.N. Owen”. At dinner, a recorded message accuses each of them in turn of having a guilty secret, and by the end of the night one of the guests is dead. Stranded by a violent storm, and haunted by an ancient nursery rhyme counting down one by one… as one by one… they begin to die. Which amongst them is the killer, and will any of them survive?’. Honestly, that description alone pulls me right in.

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