The Ruby in the Smoke
|The Ruby in the Smoke|
|Series||Sally Lockhart series|
|Genre(s)||Mystery, Young adult novel|
|Publisher||Oxford University Press|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Followed by||The Shadow in the North|
Plot summary 
||To meet Wikipedia's quality standards, this book-related article may require cleanup. (January 2010)|
This book takes place in 1872. A young woman called Sally Lockhart goes to visit where her father used to work, a shipping company named Lockhart & Selby. Sally’s father, Matthew Lockhart, died when his ship, the schooner Lavinia, sank when he was coming back from talking to the Dutch shipping agent Hendrik VanEeden. Matthew Lockhart was a former army man, and Sally's late mother was fighter in the Indian Mutiny.
On the morning the book begins, Sally received a note in the mail and went to ask her father’s partner, Samuel Selby, what the note meant. Instead she saw Mr. Higgs, Mr. Selby’s secretary, and asked him two things: if he knew of a man named Marchbanks and if he had heard of something called the “Seven Blessings”. After she asked about the letter, Mr. Higgs has a heart attack and dies. She tells the porter and finds out that she has to go to the inquest because she was a witness. Sally meets a thirteen-year-old office boy named Jim Taylor to whom she shows the letter. Jim informs Sally that the letter said that the man named Marchbanks lived in Chatham in Kent. He also volunteers his help, but she doesn’t need it at the moment.
Sally goes back to her aunt’s house, where she lives now, and is mocked by her aunt at having no ladylike accomplishments (She is able to shoot a pistol and do financial work). Sally visits a man called Mr Marchbanks, while she is there he gives her book containing information about things which happened when Sally was little. Marchbanks tells her she must leave because there is a woman in his house who is their enemy. The woman follows Sally away from the house but Sally hides from her in the tent of a photographer named Frederick Garland. Before she leaves, he hands her his business card to keep if she ever finds herself in trouble again. She gets on a train and starts to read the book Mr Marchbanks gave her. She falls asleep and when she wakes up the book is gone and the only thing left behind are a few loose pages. The only thing that she remembers is that the offender wore a bright tweed suit, and a brown bowler hat with a pin in it. She frantically searches, but, the book is really gone.
Across town, around the same time, a young girl named Adelaide is tending to one of Mrs. Hollands' guests. Along with the soup and bread she bring him, she lights him a pipe containing opium. This is a regular affair, since the man will give useful information to do with a large sum of money when under the influence of opium. He begins to rave, as usual, and mentions that he must find Sally Lockheart, because he has a message from her father. He makes Adelaide promise to not tell Mrs. Holland, for she is an evil woman, and he begins to rave nonsense once again.
Adelaide later meets with Jim, whom she tells about the man's raves. Jim promises to pass the message onto Sally, and he writes her a letter, suggesting they meet as soon as possible, to discuss the matter at hand.
This book is the first of the Sally Lockhart Quartet:
TV adaptation 
A TV Film adaptation written by Adrian Hodges and starring Billie Piper was produced by the BBC. It aired on BBC One on 27 December 2006  and on PBS's Masterpiece Mystery! as The Sally Lockhart Mysteries: The Ruby in the Smoke on 4 February 2007. The UK broadcast attracted 7.07 million viewers. It is notable as marking the TV debut of actor Matt Smith, who would later take over the role of The Doctor in Piper's former series, Doctor Who.
All four Sally Lockhart books were expected to be adapted for television; however, as of June 2012 no information has arisen regarding an adaptation of The Tiger in the Well.
|Billie Piper||Sally Lockhart|
|Julie Walters||Mrs Holland|
|JJ Feild||Frederick Garland|
|Matt Smith||Jim Taylor|
|Hayley Atwell||Rosa Garland|
|David Harewood||Matthew and Nicholas Bedwell|
|Robert Glenister||Samuel Selby|
|Elliot Cowan||Henrick Van Eeden|
|Miles Anderson||Major Marchbanks|
- Pullman's page on the book
- Overview and background
- Review of the book, Scotland on Sunday, 10 December 2006
- BBC mini-site
- The Ruby in the Smoke at the Internet Movie Database