Allen & Unwin, 2013

Book One in the ‘City of Orphans’ series

Available from
Allen & Unwin

Other books in the ‘City of Orphans’ series
A Very Peculiar PlagueA Very Singular Guild

Monsters have been infesting London’s dark places for centuries, eating every child who gets too close. That’s why ten-year-old Birdie McAdam works for Alfred Bunce, the bogler. With her beautiful voice and dainty looks, Birdie is the bait that draws bogles from their lairs so that Alfred can kill them. One life-changing day, Alfred and Birdie are approached by two very different women. Sarah Pickles runs a local gang of pickpockets, three of whom have disappeared. Edith Eames is an educated lady who’s studying the mythical beasts of English folklore. Both of them threaten the only life Birdie’s ever known. But Birdie soon realises she needs Miss Eames’s help to save her master, defeat Sarah Pickles and vanquish an altogether nastier villain.

This title is also available in North America as ‘How to Catch a Bogle’ (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). View the trailer for ‘How to Catch a Bogle’ on YouTubeWinner of the CBCA Book of the Year Award for Younger Readers and the Adelaide Festive Award for Literature in the children’s category.

‘The book, which is part Great Expectations, part Ghostbusters and a little bit Vindication of the Rights of Woman, mixes monster murder with work ethics and the importance of a girl being able to make a living for herself . . . For all its grime, Jinks’s world is rich.’
The New York Times

‘A Very Unusual Pursuit has a Dickensian feel to it . . . and dark shades of Lemony Snicket and Philip Pullman. The first in a series, it’s an unusually vivid historical adventure.’
The Sydney Morning Herald

‘This is top-notch storytelling from Jinks, full of wit, a colorful cast of rogues, and delectable slang.’
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

‘With period detail, Dickensian charm, a brave heroine and 
lots of suspense, this novel could make fantasy lovers out 
of historical fiction fans, and vice versa.’
The Huffington Post

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‘The first in a projected trilogy, this book treats readers to a lively, engaging story with an endearing protagonist at its center . . . The well-paced story builds to an exciting climax 
as each bogle encounter raises the stakes and Birdie and 
Alfred face a decision that will change their lives.’
School Library Journal

‘Jinks is an assured storyteller: character, plot, and style develop with buoyant, pleasing momentum, and her rendition of working-class English dialect reads accessibly. While this 
is fantasy somewhat similar in flavor to Joan Aiken’s Dido 
Twite tales, factual elements of the period undergird and strengthen setting and story line.’
Horn Book

‘. . . a cracking, suspenseful story of things that go BUMP 
in the night.’
The School Magazine

‘This is classic Dickensian London with a fantasy twist.
Jinks creates her setting and characters with clarity and realism. A thoroughly entertaining first instalment in a fascinating new series.’
The Sun-Herald (Sydney)

‘The tale is set in a range of locales, most of them noxious and well-stocked with rousingly scary hobgoblins as well as a cast of colorful Londoners with Dickensian names like Sally Pickles and Ned Roach. It dashes along smartly to a suspenseful climactic kerfuffle as it endears its 10-year-old protagonist, whose temper is matched only by her courage in the clutch, to readers. Jinks opens her projected trilogy in high style, offering a period melodrama replete with colorful characters, narrow squeaks and explosions of ectoplasmic goo.’
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

‘When Catherine Jinks turns her hand to historical fiction, readers can be assured of an engaging virtual trip into the era of her characters. Her research is thorough, she captures the time and place with unerring detail and versimilitude … Readers of this eloquently atmospheric, suspense-charged first volume will certainly be waiting keenly for the next instalments in this exciting historical trilogy.’

‘Although intended for younger teenagers and pre-teens, this book makes enjoyable reading for anyone who likes a good, solid story well told. Jinks’ style is so straightforward and down-to-earth, with such convincing attention to small historical details, that you don’t feel any need to suspend belief to indulge a fantasy writer: instead, you almost catch yourself thinking Maybe there really were bogles in the 1800s in England ….’

‘This is a bleak, dangerous, murky world that I loved. It is dark, muddy and beautifully evoked with a cast of characters reminiscent of a Dickens’ novel!’
Deborah Abela, ABC Canberra


  • Richard

    Cathy I love your books thank you so much for making wonderful worlds for us to explore!

    • Catherine Jinks

      Sorry about the delay in replying, William – I had to check with my
      publisher. The next book is due to be published on 2nd January 2015.