By Jess Kidd
** Publication Date 4 February 2020 **
Bridie Devine dabbles in forensics. Of course this is Victorian London and women do not dabble in the medical nor the detective realms. Yet Bridie is an imposing woman who has been raised both on the streets of Ireland and a fine estate in England. She is fearless and fearsome when she sets her mind to solving a puzzle.
Called to a graveyard to determine the cause of death of a skeleton found in a wall, Bridie’s interested is piqued when she sees the skeleton holding a swaddled baby with teeth like a pike fish. When a baronet calls Bridie to solve the mystery of his missing child, but refuses to call the police, Bridie is suspicious. What she finds at the baronet’s estate is not the child, but another mystery to solve. The Winter Mermaid is a creature in a jar. A mysterious creature that has been deemed fictitious, but perhaps not. She has seen this creature in a jar before. Long ago in her childhood. But how did it get into the baronet’s hands?
Jess Kidd has written a wonderful novel both fantasy and fiction. The setting is perfect for this mystery of an abduction and a creature in a jar. Bridie is a heroine/detective to be loved. Add in her housemaid Cora, a seven foot tall woman and the various other curious characters, and you have a story that keeps your attention. The story hops between the present and Bridie’s childhood, but it’s not hard to keep the two straight. Often when you time jump, you lose the thread of the novel, not in this case.
Loved the premise of this book. The fantasy elements are just enough to keep you guessing. Kidd has done a lovely job of writing some fun.
4 stars on Goodreads