A gothic mystery.
Paranormal investigator James d’Orr is more at home exposing fraudulent mediums in Edwardian London than racing across the windswept moors of the Yorkshire Dales.
But when the young heiress of Arkengarth engages him to investigate a family curse that threatens her sanity and her life, he is plunged into a deadly adventure from which even his extraordinary abilities may not be able to save him.
The first in a series of Jackdaw adventures.
***** "Great read with characters you want to meet again. Fast moving, gripping, great period setting, brilliant descriptions that keep you hooked. Couldn't put it down!"
***** "It's the ultimate page turner, a romping gothic mystery with twists and turns that will tear at your heart in places. But what struck me most is that this is Mr Manthorp's first novel. In fact, he's a masterful and genuinely original writer. I felt a similar excitement reading Gaiman's Neverwhere years ago."
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By Charlotte Haunch-Smith
Nov 12, 2013
Superbly written and based in Yorkshire what more could one want from a novel! It is the first Gothic mystery I have ever read and I am certainly going to invest in a few more. I fell in love with many of the characters and found myself reading into the early hours of the morning, enthralled by their story. With a fantastic, sneakily dark plot seething with mystery Jackdaw is a thrilling read. Steve has produced a real cracker that I recommend to you all, even those of you who, like me, have never tackled the Gothic genre before. Now go buy and read!
A rollicking good holiday read. Manthorp shows himself to be a faithful devotee of Edwardian fiction, gothic novels and Conan Doyle. He creates quirky but believable characters with well crafted prose and an eye for detail. A little steam punk creeps in (the hero's glasses!!) and the story thunders along, aided by the delightful entertaining Billy Bones (the dog)! If I am going to be picky, I like my heroines to be a little more feisty (more Nellie and less Ruth) and to be truly gothic the story could be several shades darker, but it has got all the ingredients there and I look forward to reading Jackdaw's next Yorkshire adventure!
Given half a chance, a Jackdaw will take a gold bauble and hide it away. This one does the reverse. ‘Jackdaw’ by Steve Manthorp is the first of hopefully many stories featuring the hair-raising adventures of a Victorian ‘psycho-sleuth’. He weaves his hero through a thread of nightmare scenarios to disentangle fraudsters, villains and ne’er-do-wells utilising ancient powers and modern detection methods. The richness of this encrusted gem lies in the wealth of knowledge that Manthorp gives us hints at in this first novel He has a love of antiques and their historical context, he has an engineer's control over the plausibility of the sites whenever his hero stumbles into any dastardly mechanical environ, he has an artist's ability to conceptualise the extreme scenarios imagined. Oh….and he does love to pun! To name his heroine “Ruth” and have a climactic chapter entitled “Ruthless” beggars belief, but, it works. At one point D’Orr muses that he might be in a gothic novel. This Jackdaw... More > has brought us a hand carved-life sized-fully articulated- bee of a book. Soon hopefully he will bring more.< Less
This is a Gothic thriller set in Yorkshire in the first years of the twentieth century. And the Gothic suits Yorkshire in the way Samba suits Brazil. Jackdaw has chosen its setting deliberately and in detail. It uses a late nineteenth century naturalistic style to produce the reality the author wants from his surroundings. So there is plenty of description for connoisseurs. The story sets out to turn the page and straightforwardly gets the reader to turn that page. But the highlights for me, and where the book is more than simply what happens next are; the vibrating pendulum communication from the cold rooms where Jackdaw's father 'lives.' The high ceilinged 'caldarium' of the subterranean Roman Baths. The use of the mysterious Nanak's transposition in the final mortal struggle, and the very neat final line setting up the sequel, which if this wasn't a work of fiction would be text book.
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