Comments for Constable and Toop
Constable and Toop: 03/14/14
Constable and Toop by Gareth P. Jones is set in Victorian London, both in the human and the spirit world.
Something is eating the ghosts, something the Ghost Bureau has called the Black Rot. A ghost clerk, Mr. Lapsewood is sent to investigate. In the land of the living, a coroner's son and a girl newly moved into a haunted house can both see ghosts and know that something is up.
Both sides have to overcome prejudices to work together to stop the Black Rot. It sounds like such a promising plot but it did not work for me.
An ensemble cast requires timing and a unique voice for each point of view. Each piece of the story has to be compelling on its own to keep the reader turning pages. I unfortunately didn't feel that compulsion with any if them.
Take for instance Mr. Lapsewood. He's a long time clerk but he's going a bit daft, as apparently all ghosts eventually do. He's chosen for this dangerous job because he's not performing his current duties well. The new job is dangerous and potentially fatal (or whatever the equivalent is for ghosts) and frankly he's expendable. But he's incompetent and ill prepared and that makes his promotion or reassignment make no sense.
Lapsewood is set up in a position similar to Lipwig of Going Postal by Terry Pratchett (review coming). The difference that years of being a forger and a con man has given Lipwig the skills necessary to restart the Ankh-Morpork post office and take down the Grand Trunk. Lapsewood has no transferable skills as far as I can see.