Before Pullman became famous for *The Golden Compass*, he made a name for himself with the exciting Sally Lockhart history-mysteries set in Victorian England. Sally is an intrepid young woman making waves in a time period when women were just beginning to be allowed to own property and run businesses.
In this second book, *The Shadow in the North*, 22-year old Sally, Frederick, and Jim face a powerful and murderous businessman, Axel Bellmann, who seems poised to make a fortune and to gain government influence in a deal involving a devastating illegal weapon. Sally has rescued Frederick’s failing photography business and has become an investment advisor to teachers and other small investors. One of her clients has lost all of her money when one of Bellmann’s companies mysteriously collapsed. A stage magician and a spiritualist also get pulled into the plot. This is just as good as the first book. Powerful, exciting, terrific characters.
Pullman’s powers of description are excellent. You really feel as though you are in each scene. And he carefully draws out the mystery so you don’t know which direction the plot will go. Definitely teen level.