As seen on TV, but the book is so much better. It's a thrilling chase through the dark back streets of Victorian London, in the best traditions of Conan Doyle, but with Pullman's own very unconventional twists.
Our heroine is Sally Lockhart, and she is certainly not a conventional Victorian. Brought up by her father, she can ride and shoot and speak Hindustani, though her knowledge of French or needlework is sadly lacking. Her father's death has thrown her on the mercies of an unwelcoming relative, and realising that she will never be happy as a lady's companion, Sally takes her meagre inheritance for herself and runs away.
What she runs to, however, is a mystery. People seem strangely anxious to find her. Incomprehensible messages arrive for her, apparently from her dead father. Sally's own nightmares seem to reveal something about her past, but how can she willingly dig deeper into their horror?
Sally is a fantastic heroine, utterly (almost implausibly) unbound by the habits of the society in which she lives. With a bohemian surrounding cast, Jim the messenger boy, Frederick the handsome photographer cum detective and his actress sister Rosa, the terrified Adelaide and reliable Tumbler, Pullman paints a vivid picture that is never less than gripping.