Constable & Toop [NOOK Book]

Overview


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 ...
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Constable & Toop

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Overview


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
STARRED REVIEWS
"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."
--Kirkus Reviews

"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."
--Publishers Weekly

"It is part mystery, part adventure, and thoroughly delightful."
--VOYA

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/23/2013
British author Jones (the Ninja Meerkats series) offers a witty take on Victorian ghost stories that mixes dark humor and satire with an almost traditional boy’s adventure format. Sam Toop is the son of an undertaker, and has, after years of being exposed to the dead, become a “Talker,” who can see and hear ghosts. When an amoral exorcist starts banishing ghosts in London, the places they’d previously haunted become corrupt and eerie to the living, a situation that can only be fixed when a new ghost is trapped there. A ghostly bureaucrat named Lapsewood investigates, and his attempts to fix the problem lands him in ghost prison and leads to Sam’s violent uncle, Jack, being enlisted to help find new ghosts—something he decides is easiest if he creates the ghosts himself. From the often hilarious and inept ghostly bureaucracy to Jack’s grisly murders and the horror of innocent ghosts being banished, Jones casts a wide net. As a result, the novel can ramble, but Jones’s vision and verve give it heaps of charm. Ages 10–14. (Oct.)
VOYA - Madeline Miles
Constable And Toop is a very good idea for a book. The problem is that the theme of the book is overused. Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book (HarperCollins, 2008/Voya August 2008) is a really well written book that has a similar plot, but is more intriguing and exciting. Constable And Toop is a little too young for teen readers, especially those who have already read lots of supernatural books. Reviewer: Madeline Miles, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Debbie Wenk
Constable and Toop is a funeral home in Victorian London. Sam is the undertaker's son and can see ghosts. Jack is Sam's unsavory uncle hiding from the law. Mr. Lapsewood is a ghost clerk in the Central Records Library of the Ghost Bureau. Clara is a young girl whose family lives in a house haunted by its previous resident. Tanner is a rogue ghost who wanders the streets of London playing tricks on unsuspecting people. All these seemingly unconnected characters come together when ghosts start disappearing and a Black Rot infests previously haunted buildings. Something must be done before a terrible fate befalls the city. This charming ghost story begins with a series of stories that appear to have little in common. As the plot develops, however, the reader is drawn into a fresh and compelling story whose threads weave together. Sam's ability to see and talk to ghosts has set him apart as different from his peers—something which with many teens will identify. His isolation from kids his own age is touching and readers will pull for him to overcome his obstacles. Jack and Mr. Lapsewood are among the other primary characters. Jack is simply evil and not redeemable while Lapsewood is a timid soul that may remind some readers of themselves, and his growth during the story is rewarding. While the myriad of players may put off some readers, most young teens with an affinity for the paranormal will relish this delightful tale. It is part mystery, part adventure, and thoroughly delightful. Reviewer: Debbie Wenk
School Library Journal
★ 12/01/2013
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, MA
Kirkus Reviews
2013-08-15
In this generously plotted, overstuffed ghost story set in Victorian London, "a phantasmagorical wasting disease" known as "Black Rot" is infesting haunted houses, and it's up to a group of unlikely heroes to save the city. Sam Toop, an undertaker's son, is a Talker--he has the ability to communicate with ghosts. Lapsewood is a methodical and conscientious ghost civil servant sent to London to find out what happened to a missing co-worker. As their stories intertwine, they are joined by a large, Dickensian cast of heroes and rogues, both living and dead, each with his or her own agenda. 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. He does a good job of explaining the rules of his world and keeping its mythology consistent, and he leavens the material with plenty of humor. For example, he imagines a ghost world with a vast, onerous bureaucracy, a clever notion. The book is not for everyone; the overlong story drags in places, and it requires a level of patience and persistence that not all readers possess. A complex, richly textured tale that will satisfy patient readers. (Fantasy. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781613124857
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/8/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 524,648
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author


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.”
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Read an Excerpt

Sam glanced at his uncle. He had no desire to reveal his gift to him. He tried to ignore the ghost but she continued to go on. 'They say you're a Talker. You can hear and see us. They say you'll help us. Please help me. I must tell my Tom not to marry her.'

Sam disliked the maudlers and the mopers most of all, always coming to him, begging for help. At least this one was pretty. A few years older than Sam, twenty perhaps, but even in death he could see she had been a beauty.

He shifted his eyes to indicate that he would speak with her outside, then poured a ladleful of soup into the bowl and placed it back in front of his uncle.

'You shouldn't listen to your old man,' said Uncle Jack. 'We used to be as thick as thieves, me and him. I don't know what he's said about me before, but every story has two sides. Most have more.'

'He's never mentioned you,' replied Sam honestly.

Jack swallowed a mouthful of soup. 'This tastes better now, lad. You'll make someone a good wife some day.' He laughed. 'Oh, there you go again with your sulky looks. It was a joke.'

The lady in the nightdress sniffed.

'And pay no attention to her, neither,' added Jack in a hushed voice. 'I'll bet her chap's better off with the sister than with that moaning old trout.'

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2014

    Constable & Toop Gareth P. Jones    Do you believe in ghosts

    Constable & Toop
    Gareth P. Jones
       Do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever wished you could talk to one? Sam Toop in Gareth P. Jones’s Constable & Toop is special. He can see and hear the dead, or is a Talker, as “They” put it. They—ghosts— often ask him to help Them out by delivering messages to loved ones or transporting a revised will to a lawyer.  
       Sam Toop is the son of Charles Toop, an undertaker who runs the business of Constable & Toop along with his sales partner, Mr. Constable. Lapsewood is a ghost struggling to maintain his job. He gets sent to work for a ghost named General Colt—a bossy, blustering army general in charge of the Housing Department of the ghostly government—who sends him to pursue a spirit by the name of Doris McNally. She has gone missing. At the same time, a mysterious plague called the Black Rot has been affecting buildings in London—buildings that have been haunted but have released their ghosts.  
        As I read this book, I could see every moment happening as bonds formed among the characters that inhabit Constable & Toop. I watched as the living and the dead joined together to resolve the problems and conflicts described in the book.  This book made me smile at some parts and shudder at others.
       I absolutely loved Constable & Toop. I loved the different story elements Jones uses as he explores the different characters’ situations and perspectives. I recommend this book to everyone, but especially to people who like ghost stories and don’t get easily scared off by gruesome details. This is the first ghost story that I have read that ventures into the “lives” and perspectives of the dead and doesn’t just depict them as the spooky reflections of departed souls. If you like fantasy and history, you will enjoy this book.  

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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