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Constable & Toop Hardcover – October 8, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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$15.77 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 8 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

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, MAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journal. LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Young Sam Toop, son of one of the owners of the titular undertaker’s shop, has a mystical ability to speak to ghosts. He also has a big problem: his murderous uncle Jack is lying low with Sam and his father. Meanwhile, Lapsewood, a paper-pushing ghost employed by the comically bureaucratic Bureau, which regulates ghost-related matters, has been moved to the housing department (tasked with regulating haunted houses) to find a missing officer in London. Once there, he and his companions discover an even bigger problem: the Rot, a destructive, demonic force that's hungry for ghosts. As Sam and Lapsewood investigate further, they find the truth behind not only the recent proliferation of brand-new ghosts in London but also the sinister source of the Rot. 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. Grades 5-8. --Sarah Hunter

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 760 (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (October 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419707825
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419707827
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,376,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Wilhelmina Zeitgeist VINE VOICE on October 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
"Constable & Toop" by Gareth P. Jones in one heck of a good ghost story full of humor and suspense. And ghosts galore. There are ghosts who hear the "knocking" right after death and go through a door that appears to them to their final destination. There are the ghosts who aren't ready to go through the door and while away their time working at the bureau where all the business that has to do with ghosts is kept in proper order there's a lot of stamping and filing that needs to be done. You've got your ghost who stay close to where they lived either trying to find a way to finish up the unfinished business they left behind or who just prefer to stay earthbound.

Every building needs a ghost so each one has one trapped inside. Without a resident ghost, a building a taken over by the Black Rot which sucks in unsuspecting ghosts and keeps them trapped for eternity. While the Black Rot is bad for ghosts, it is quite unnerving to the living as well.

Meet the undertaker's son who can see and talk to ghosts as he joins forces with ghosts in battling the black rot and restore order to both the world of the living and the world of the dead.

This story is full of humor and suspense. It's a book that will remind you of why you ever began to love reading in the first place; the joy of a dared good story. A wonderful ghost story for grown-ups.

I loved it.
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By Shae on March 8, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Originally reviewed at: http://www.shaelit.com/2013/11/review-constable-and-toop-by-gareth-p-jones/

I knew I was in good hands when this cute little MG opened with a girl having her throat slit in a back alley. Yes, real throat, actual slittage. Though violent, the scene is not gratuitous and ends up being important later on in the plot. We’re still trying to find out what’s going on when the narrative jumps to the “true” beginning in a tiny office in the center of the Ghost Bureau where paperwork drone Lapsewood dutifully tries to wade through the bureaucratic nonsense that comes with ghostly living. His supervisor, a legless(!) blowhard named Colonel Penhaligan reassigns him to the Housing Department as an attempt to shake up his routine. Lapsewood, to his quavering dismay, is tasked with entering the real world to find an Outreach Worker who went to check up on the ghostly residents of haunted houses in London and vanished. Lapsewood soon discovers that the problem is much larger than one missing worker – a ghost-gobbling plague is devouring his fellows and may soon destroy all on London.

First off, let me say that I LOVED Lapsewood. If you’re looking for a likeable character with noticeable growth throughout a story, he’s your man. Erm, ghost. Shy, retiring, and orderly, Lapsewood wants nothing more than to spend the rest of his ghostly existence finishing paperwork and secretly pining for Penhaligan’s beautiful secretary, Alice. Instead, he’s thrust into the sensory overload that is London to hunt down a deadly threat to all ghostkind, and he does marvelously.
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Format: Kindle Edition
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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Format: Hardcover
Knowing my daughter's fondness for Doctor Who ( The Time of the Doctor), a colleague loaned me his copy of _Constable and Toop_ (written by a producer and writer for the series.) As a "Whovian" I couldn't resist reading it as well. It was a wonderful recommendation. Jones' preface is reminiscent of The Graveyard Book, and it had the same effect of pulling me into the story. The plot divides its time between this world and the netherworld: in the here and now, Sam Toop (the only son of an undertaker) sees and speaks to ghosts; in the afterlife, Lapsewood is a bureaucrat. As the story unfolds, both discover unsettling things are happening all over London - ghosts are being destroyed by the buildings they once haunted.

The plot and nefarious characters are a little shallow, the catharsis a little convenient but the book is ostensibly written for younger audiences (geared towards 6 - 8th graders I would guess). That said, I enjoyed the story and the characters immensely - a breezy, light read that was entertaining. Highly recommended for its target audience; adult readers may also enjoy.
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