The Shadow in the North

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The Shadow in the North
The Shadow in the North cover.jpg
First edition
Author Philip Pullman
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Sally Lockhart series
Publisher Oxford University Press
Publication date
1986
Pages 288
ISBN 0-192-71548-8
OCLC 59317478
Preceded by The Ruby in the Smoke
Followed by The Tiger in the Well

The Shadow in the North (1986) is a book by the English author Philip Pullman. It was originally published as The Shadow in the Plate.

Plot[edit]

This book takes place in late 1878, six years after the events of The Ruby in the Smoke. A woman named Miss Walsh walks into the offices of S. Lockhart, Financial Consultant. Miss Walsh tells Sally Lockhart that she lost all of her money in a company called Anglo-Baltic because the company experienced many tragedies, including two ships sinking and one being impounded. Sally swears to get Miss Walsh’s money back. The narrator tells the reader about Sally and how her friend Frederick is in love with her but she does not know if she loves him back. The narrator also introduces Sally’s dog, Chaka.

Meanwhile Sally’s friend Jim Taylor helps a magician named Alistair Mackinnon escape two men who have unfavorable intentions toward him. Jim takes Mackinnon to Frederick and his uncle Webster at their photography shop/private investigations office named Garland and Lockhart because Mackinnon says that he is mixed up in a murder. Mackinnon shows Jim, Webster and Fred that he has spiritual abilities (he can see things having to do with an object by touching it) and tells them of a murder he saw by touching a man’s cigar case. Mackinnon believes that the man knows that he knows about the murder, and is terrified for his life.

Later that night, Jim and Fred go to a spiritualist séance intending to see if the woman running it, Nellie Budd, is a fraud or is actually a spiritualist. While they are there, Nellie has a vision linking both Mackinnon’s vision and Sally’s investigation. Fred goes to Sally and tells her about it; in turn, she tells him what she knows about the former owner of Anglo-Baltic and now the current owner of a company called North Star named Axel Bellmann. Sally thinks that Mr. Bellman manufactured Anglo-Baltic’s collapse to fund North Star and she believes that he is very vicious. They decide to find out more about him on their own.

Mackinnon asks Fred to stay with him during a charity event in case one of the men tries to get him. Fred asks Charles Bertram, a friend of his and a fellow worker at Garland and Lockhart, if he could come with him because Charles is from an aristocratic family and he knows some of the people at the event. At the event, Mackinnon sees a man he recognizes, and Charles finds out that it was Axel Bellmann himself. After Mackinnon sees the man, he disappears, to Fred and Charles’ annoyance.

At Sally’s office the next morning, an employee of Axel Bellman named Mr. Windlesham who tries to scare her off investigating his employer. After that meeting, Sally goes to her lawyer, named Mr. Temple, who she tells the whole story to and who tells her to be careful. Axel Bellmann makes a financial deal with a Lord Wytham: if Lord Wytham lets Mr. Bellmann marry his 17 year old daughter named Mary, Mr. Bellman will pay him 400,000 pounds. Fred goes to see Nellie Budd and ask her if she knew anything about her vision. She did not but while he was at her house, Fred learned that she has a sister named Jessie. Sally goes to visit Axel Bellmann; she orders him to pay her the money that Miss Walsh lost but he refuses. Unfortunately for Nellie Budd, Sally drops a business card with Nellie’s name and address on it, and Axel Bellman picks it up.

Jim goes to look for Mackinnon and finds that he is residing in a boarding house. This is told to him by Isabel Meredith, a young woman who has a birthmark that disfigures her whole face. Isabel was taking care of Mackinnon when he was in the boarding house. Isabel found a newspaper clipping about a murdered man preserved in ice, the topic of Mackinnon’s vision. Jim also figures out that Isabel is desperately in love with Mackinnon. Charles discovers that Mr. Bellmann and Lady Mary Wytham are getting engaged because one of Charles’ friends told him that they were getting an engagement portrait. Fred, Jim and Charles go to the portrait place, Charles to help and Fred and Jim to investigate. Mr. Bellmann recognizes Fred from the event but Lady Mary distracts Bellman. Jim falls head over heels in love with Lady Mary. Two men go and get Mackinnon’s location from Isabel (they threaten her first). The next day she leaves a note in Garland & Lockhart’s mailbox, which says that Mackinnon is in danger from two men and they know where he is. Sally, Jim and Fred go to keep an eye on things. Sally warns Mackinnon of the danger and he in turn, tells her that his father is Lord Wytham and his mother is Nellie Budd.

Fred goes to see Nellie Budd the next day, but he finds out that she has been attacked and knocked unconscious. Mr. Windlesham goes to a hitman and pays him to get rid of Sally. Sally learns that North Star is a weapons company that wants to build a huge "Steam Gun" that shoots thousands of bullets at once. Frederick learns how the steam gun works and discovers that the engineer who designed it was murdered by Mr. Bellmann. Frederick tells Nellie’s sister about Nellie’s injury and learns that Mackinnon is not really Nellie’s son and he learns that Mackinnon is married to a Lady. Fred learns the next day that the lady Mackinnon married was Lady Mary Wytham. Mr. Windlesham’s hitman tries to kill Sally when she is walking Chaka. Unbeknownst to him, the woman he tries to kill is really Isabel and his knife gets stuck in her underclothing. He kills Chaka instead and Sally is devastated.

The next day, Sally goes into her office to find it ransacked. Her landlord allowed "police officers" to take her files and Sally is angry at him because he didn’t ask why they were stealing them. The police make fun of her when she asks where her files went. After that, Sally goes to Garland & Lockhart to ask Fred’s help. Fred and Jim manage to get the files back for Sally. After Sally gets her files back, she realizes that the Steam Gun was designed to use against your own population, given that its reliance on railways tracks means that it could never be deployed as an offensive weapon against a military enemy. After Fred tells Jim that Lady Mary is married to Mackinnon, Jim goes to see Lady Mary to tell her goodbye. When Isabel finds out that Mackinnon is married, she is devastated and asks to go away because she thinks that she is bad luck. When Jim comes back from seeing Lady Mary, he brings with him the news that Fred and Jim have to fight to rescue Mackinnon from Mr. Bellman’s men, the same men who beat Nellie Budd up. Jim and Fred cream them and send them to the police, where they will get in trouble with the police. They bring Mackinnon back to Garland & Lockhart, where they keep him.

After everyone but Sally and Frederick go to bed, Mr. Windlesham goes to them and pretends that he is on their side. When he is gone, Sally realizes that he was lying. Sally tells Frederick that she loves him and takes him upstairs, whispering, "Not a word - not a word." The two of them sleep together, and afterward Sally lets Frederick ask her to marry him, and agrees. Meanwhile, Mr. Windlesham and Mr. Bellmann plan to burn down Garland & Lockhart. Jim wakes up in time to smell the fire and warn everybody else. They climb out of the window but Jim falls and breaks his leg. Isabel refuses to move. Frederick tries to save her but dies with her.

After Fred dies, Sally walks around in a daze. Unknowingly, she takes herself to the North Star headquarters. She gets a hold of herself enough to ask for Mr. Bellmann and to tell him that she is there to see him. Jim Taylor’s leg was broken but he walks to Mackinnon’s place on it. Jim forces Mackinnon to see where Sally is using his psychic powers and then drags him to the North Star headquarters. Mr. Bellmann tells Sally that he wants power and he believes that the Steam Gun could give it to him, claiming that the sheer horror of the weapon will ensure peace. He then asks her to marry him. At that point, Mackinnon comes in, plainly terrified, to bring Sally to Jim. Sally agrees to marry Mr. Bellmann, but he has to give Mackinnon the money for Sally’s client. Mackinnon takes the money out to Jim and Jim correctly realizes that Sally is up to something. At Sally’s request, Mr. Bellmann takes her to see the Steam Gun, which Sally promptly sets off, mockingly informing Bellman that he still fails to understand people, and she only went along with the proposal to regain the money for her client. Jim gets Sally out of what is left of the area around the Steam Gun, but Mr. Bellmann dies.

Sally was hardly hurt by the Steam Gun. She brings the money to Miss Walsh, who goes to invest it in Garland & Lockhart. Jim’s leg was badly hurt during his rescue of Sally and he walks with a limp the rest of his life. In the spring of the next year, Charles, Webster, Jim and Sally go find new premises for Garland & Lockhart. They find a beautiful house and Charles gives to Sally a picture that he had taken of Fred before he died. After this, Sally decides to tell all of them that she is pregnant with Fred’s child.

TV adaptation[edit]

A BBC TV Movie adaptation starring Billie Piper as Sally Lockhart, JJ Feild as Fred Garland, Jared Harris as Axel Bellmann and Matt Smith as Jim Taylor. It was partly filmed in Kent at The Historic Dockyard Chatham.[1]

It was broadcast in the UK on 30 December 2007 on BBC1.[2] It also aired in the United States on the PBS station Masterpiece Mystery! under the title The Sally Lockhart Mysteries: The Shadow in the North.

All four Sally Lockhart books were expected to be adapted for television; however, as of March 2014, no information has arisen regarding an adaptation of The Tiger in the Well.

Allusions to history[edit]

The character of Hopkinson/Nordenfels seems to be based on Swedish inventor Thorsten Nordenfelt, particularly his move from Sweden to England, his investment in British railway technology and the development of the Nordenfelt gun which all have parallels in the book. Perhaps coincidentally, there were also armoured trains of Poland.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office The Shadow in the North Film Focus". 
  2. ^ BBC - Drama - The Shadow in the North

External links[edit]