The Ruby in the Smoke: A Sally Lockhart Mystery

Author: Philip Pullman

Publisher: New York: Knopf 2008
ISBN- 978-0375845161
pages: 230
Author's website

Classification: Young Adult Fiction
Genre: Mystery
Media Type: Book

Grade level: 7-Adult

Reader's annotation:
Sally has just found out her father is dead, she is now alone in Victorian London, the mysterious ruby that belongs to her now missing. A story of intrigue, opium addicts, new friends, and cryptic clues to unravel.

Sally Lockhart is almost an adult, but she had her father to look after her until recently when he vanished somewhere in Asia and is now found dead. The news saddens her but leaves her with questions that don’t seem to be answered. The lawyers are clearly keeping something from her but she doesn’t know what to do. Then one of the clerks, Jim, gives her some information which leads her into the search for a giant ruby. Along the way she meets Fred and his sister Rosa who are struggling to get a daguerreotype business going. Sally finds she can help them with their business and they help her escape the attempts on her life, rescue someone from the clutches of opium, and ultimately find the ruby.

Evaluation: Not in the least bit like Pullman’s Dark Materials series, this book is more a combination English mystery and Nancy Drew story. It is lots of fun, especially the setting in a Dicken's style Victorian London, this story keeps moving all the way to the end. The twists and turns and intrigue make the story interesting and non-formulaic.

Sally Lockhart Quartet - book 1

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I grew up outside of Boston, went to college in western MA and lived in NYC dancing for several years before getting my teaching credentials and unintentionally moving to Santa Cruz CA. Married and divorced with two kids almost grown, a daughter in college and a son in high school, I am thrilled to be a librarian now, something that I should have done years ago. I love the applications of technology and realize that I have been interested in that since my first computer class back in 1986 - a new requirement for teaching degrees. Finally I can combine my love of curriculum, educational resources, working with adults and children, and technology applications.