Something mysterious and terrible is happening throughout Victorian London: Ghosts are disappearing. When this reaches the attention of the Ghost Bureau, the diligent but clueless Mr. Lapsewood, a paranormal paper-pusher, is sent to investigate, and what he discovers is grave. The Black Rot has arrived a voracious spiritual infestation whereby empty haunted houses suck in unsuspecting ghosts and imprison them. Lapsewood’s investigation weaves through the plotlines of several other memorable characters both living and dead including an undertaker’s son who can see ghosts, a serial throat-slasher reminiscent of Jack the Ripper, an evangelical exorcist, and many more. The living and dead must work together if they hope to destroy the Black Rot before it destroys both the ghost and human worlds.
This highly atmospheric and bitingly funny ghost story by successful British author Gareth P. Jones will delight fans of Eva Ibbotson and Neil Gaiman.
Praise for Constable & Toop
"Jones has crafted a menacing, spooky Victorian London full of criminals and unfinished business, which is well balanced by the biting satire and buffoonery of the Bureau. Add to that a cast of fascinating, well-wrought characters from the smarmy and threatening Jack, to the precocious, pot-stirring aspiring journalist, Clara and it’s a winning combination of macabre atmosphere, whimsical antics, and heartfelt, earnest friendship."
--Booklist, starred review
"This story is sure to tickle the funny bone and satisfy the taste for some gruesome adventure while appealing to both girls and boys. A fun read that includes intrigue, murder, mystery, and a young damsel who rescues them all."
--School Library Journal, starred review
"Both spine-chilling and raucously funny, this ghostly Victorian mystery knits humor and horror into a lively supernatural escapade for confident readers."
--Library Media Connection, highly recommended
"Jones is interested in giving readers more than spooky thrills; his characters have moral heft and are concerned with issues such as culpability, whether people can be considered good if they have done bad things, and the importance of living life to its fullest."
"British author Jones offers a witty take on Victorian ghost stories that mixes dark humor and satire with an almost traditional boy’s adventure format."
"It is part mystery, part adventure, and thoroughly delightful."
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Gareth P. Jones is the popular UK-based author of The Dragon Detective Agency series, The Considine Curse (Blue Peter Book of the Year 2012), and the Ninja Meerkats series. He is also a TV producer and plays “a slightly ludicrous number of stringed instruments.”From School Library Journal:
Gr 5-8-Sam Toop can see ghosts. That in itself is a bit of an issue, but the real problem is they can talk to him and are constantly asking for his help in making amends with the living. But a Talker is what Victorian London could use as the Black Rot begins to seep into haunted houses that have lost their ghosts. Mr. Lapsewood, a clerk from the Ghost Bureau and woefully unprepared ghost himself, is sent to investigate in the living world. What he discovers is a much larger plot than he could have imagined and he finds himself working with Rogue ghosts escaping from prison, and coming very close to his death at the mouth of a hellhound. Meanwhile, aristocratic and unconventional Clara believes that a mysterious Reverend Fallowfield is not merely performing parlor tricks in the fancy houses around the city, but performing real, and cruel, exorcisms on unsuspecting ghosts. This might turn out to be the key to the problems of both the spirit and human world, and all of these characters come under one roof to solve them. The characters, particularly of the ghosts, including the Marquis de Sade, are humorous and unique. With the popularity of novels such as Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book (HarperCollins, 2008), this story is sure to tickle the funny bone and satisfy the taste for some gruesome adventure while appealing to both girls and boys. A fun read that includes intrigue, murder, mystery, and a young damsel who rescues them all.-Clare A. Dombrowski, Amesbury Public Library, MAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journal. LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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