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Constable and Toop Paperback – 4 Oct 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Hot Key Books (4 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1471400115
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471400117
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 249,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gareth lives in South East London and divides his time between writing books, producing TV programmes, spending time with his wife and son, Herbie, and playing the slightly ludicrous number of stringed instruments in his front room.

His books include two series, The Dragon Detective Agency and Ninja Meerkats. His Standalone books include, The Considine Curse which won the Blue Peter Book of the Year Prize 2012. Space Crime Conspiracy and The Thornthwaite Inheritance, which won the Hounslow Junior Book Award, the Calderdale Book Award, Leicester Children's Book Award, Sefton Super Reads, Doncaster Book Award, Rotherham Children's Book Award, and Fantastic Book Award, Lancaster. His most recent book is called Constable & Toop and is a humorous Victorian ghost story.

As well as writing books he also writes songs about each of his books, which he plays on his regular school visits.

His website is www.garethwrites.co.uk

Product Description

Review

'This is a wonderful tale of crime, retribution and spiritualism, set in a richly historical London full of Fagin-like thieves and bent policemen. Jones balances the razor-sharp wit and huge cast of characters with a genuinely gory and chilling underbelly that asks questions about life and death. And is very funny…' --Daily Mail

'Funny, gruesome and scary, with the great setting of a funeral parlour, this is an action packed adventure full of the darker and dirtier details of life in Victorian London.' --Julia Eccleshare, Lovereading4kids

'With an appealingly gothic setting, this pacey and exciting mystery perfectly blends comedy with the dark, spooky and supernatural. There are plenty of funny and gruesome moments that will appeal to young readers; but this is also a well-researched, thoughtful and compassionate novel, that takes inspiration from the Victorian preoccupation with mourning and death. Jones skilfully manages a complex series of interlocking storylines and an engaging cast of characters in this witty, action-packed and hugely entertaining ghost story.' --Booktrust

About the Author

Gareth divides his time between writing books, producing TV programmes, spending time with his wife and son, Herbie, and playing the slightly ludicrous number of stringed instruments in his front room. THE CASE OF THE MISSING CATS, the first book in The Dragon Detective Agency series, was nominated for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize. THE THORNTHWAITE INHERITANCE won the Hounslow Junior Book Award, the Calderdale Book Award, Leicester Children's Book Award, Sefton Super Reads, Doncaster Book Award, Rotherham Children's Book Award, and Fantastic Book Award, Lancaster.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Louise Ward on 8 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback
Gareth P. Jones, winner of the Blue Peter Award for The Considine Curse, newest book Constable and Toop is categorised as 'funny, historical, gruesome and scary' i.e. just what kids want and has very Gothic looking artwork on the cover of a Victorian undertakers frontage by artist Aron Wiesenfeld.
This book is funny before you have even started because the author 'praise for' section usually from worthy book critics and national newspapers is full of comments from 'the ghost of' classic Victorian authors- very clever, and suggests early on Jones own reading and influences on the style of writing used. The prologue starts us straight into a murder of which we will learn the relevance of later on and then we are into the parallel 1884 stories.
There is Lapsewood, whom we soon realise is a ghost, working in The Bureau to the afterlife where he processes dispatch documents. It's gruesome alright, with all the different deaths of the characters described; bayonet wounds from The Crimea and hangings in Newgate. There's Colonel Penhaligan, the boss of the ghost world and his beautiful secretary Alice Biggins (great Victorian sounding names.) There are 'Prowlers' who go on haunting missions to the physical world and 'Enforcers' who bring 'Rogue' ghosts into line. It's the Mission Impossible office of the ghost world- should you wish to accept the task or Rent-A-Ghost. There's the comedy of the polter-licenses and Opacity permission forms and this runs parallel to the more serious Victorian drama story of Sam Toop.
Young Sam Toop, undertaker's son whose mother is dead lives over the funeral parlour with his father - a real Dickensian set-up, and has the ability to see and communicate with ghosts.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Luna's Little Library on 2 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback
You know how sometimes you see something in a bookshop that catches your eye? You decide to buy it on a whim? You begin reading and you fall in love? Constable & Toop is that book.

Beautifully written, wonderful characters, mesmerizing storytelling - it's all there. Everything about this book is just what I wanted it to be. I loved all the characters, yet I despite the richness of them I never struggled to follow what was happening. With each new chapter I got pulled further into Sam and Lapsewood's adventure.

This book has pretty much everything you could ask for. At times I was laughing out loud (particularly during General Colt's conversations) then I was worried and sometimes I was so wrapped up in the world building that I forgot what was happening around me.

I'm not sure why I picked this up but I'm so glad I did.
Maybe some wise ghost was guiding me ;)

Constable & Toop is intelligent, special and brilliant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ancient Mariner on 22 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback
I would second every comment I've seen about how clever the story is, how well plotted, how amusing, and how creative. The characters are engaging and interesting, the atmosphere is as thick as a London fog, and the treatment of ghosts, from the knocking and the Unseen Door to the ghosts' selfish demands for attention from a Talker, is as rich, complex and rewarding as any ghosty story I've ever read.

But this is a long and exhausting book. It's not because it is overstuffed with incident or plot complications, or anything like that. It is long because everything goes on for more than it needs to. We don't walk down one described street, we walk down three. Before we go in to an office we have to describe the reception area and meet the receptionist. Every conversation has a few unnecessary exchanges that don't really contribute to the story.

That's fine - it helps build atmosphere and illuminate character. It adds to the Victorianness of it all. But it also tries the patience and saps momentum. That might not matter that much, except this is aimed to be a middle grade read. I may be way off base here; I'm sure there are fifth and sixth graders willing to read over 400 pages of clever, whimsical, very Victorian ghost adventure, but there are also such readers who might just run out of steam or interest. It's not a deal breaker, but something to keep in mind when recommending this title.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By H.P. on 28 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
Want a chilling book to read for Halloween? Then Constable and Toop is right up your dark alley. Having read Jones' brilliant The Considine Curse I knew to expect something a little bit whackier than the norm and I wasn't disappointed. As the previous reviewer stated, Constable and Toop isn't for the faint-hearted. There are scary bits and sinister dark goings-on. It's perfect, in other words, for the high-level reader aged between 9 and 12 who coped with the Dementors in Harry Potter.
The book is set in 1884 when Queen Victoria was half way through her reign.Constable and Toop, an undertaker's in Honor Oak on the outskirts of London, is home to Sam Toop, one of the main characters. Sam helps his father and Mr Costable with the funerals, acting as the 'mute' who walks wordlessly with the procession. But Sam has a secret. Walking with him, all too often, is the ghost of the dead person, who stares mournfully at those he's left behind. These restless ghosts sometimes ask Sam to do them a favour. Sam doesn't mind the ghosts so much. It's favours for the living, like his creepy Uncle Jack, he can't abide...

Constable and Toop is a real page turner that would suit fans of Derek Landy and Terry Pratchett.
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