Shelf Control

It’s Wednesday, and time again for Shelf Control. This is a feature I’ve borrowed  from Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies,and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR.  All one has to do is to pick one of the books on one’s TBR every Wednesday, and write a post about it (usually what it’s all about, what makes you want to read it, where you got it, and such, but I guess up to you really).

This week my pick is

Ruby in teh smoke.jpg


The Ruby in the Smoke is the first of a four-book young adult series by Philip Pullman, better known I guess for the His Dark Materials series.

What it’s all about: This book features sixteen-year-old Sally Lockhart, uncommonly pretty, with thorough grounding in military tactics, shooting a pistol, riding, and running a business, though she knows nothing about history, art, or literature. Set in Victorian London, Sally finds that she must fend for herself when her father is suspiciously drowned in the South China Sea. As she heads to her father’s office to make sense of a few clues she has, she is plunged into a mystery, which takes her to murky streets and the opium dens of London.

Where and When I got it: My edition is a 1999 ed (the book was originally published in 1985) by Scholastic and I got it online (second-hand) some months ago.

Why I want to read it: Because I always love a good mystery, and all the more so when its in a historical setting. And this is just that. I first noticed this series on a friend’s shelf back on Shelfari, and it’s been interesting me since then. So, very excited to read it.

TV Adaptation: This book has been adapted as a TV film staring Billie Piper and Matt Smith, as was the second book in the series, but I haven’t seen either of those yet.


Have you read this book, or any other entry from this series before? What did you think of it or of the adaptation/s if you’ve watched those? What about other young adult mystery standalones, or historical ones? Looking forward to hearing about your favourites, and recommendations.



3 thoughts on “Shelf Control #14

  1. Yes, I’ve read this (and the sequels) and seen the BBC films, and very much want to read them again. The fly in the ointment is the fourth book in the series, The Tin Princess, which seems very out of place. Unlike the first three, which were very credible in a steampunk way, the fourth was set in a Ruritanian country and seemed more suited to the worlds conjured up by his books for younger reasons, titles like Count Karlstein.

    In my reread, though, I shall take it at face value, even though Sally barely features in it. Do catch the Billie Piper films though, she captured the young protagonist really well. They included, if my memory serves me, Matt Smith who later went on to be a Doctor Who incarnation (following David Tennant).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have one and three and do plan to order books 2 and 4 as well.

      Must look up the films-the first thing I noticed when I looked at the descriptions for this post was the Dr Who connection. I really enjoyed the first few seasons (of the newer lot) but towards the end of the Matt Smith episodes, lost interest a bit. My favourite set are the David Tennant ones,

      Liked by 1 person

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