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The four books in the series are:
- The Ruby in The Smoke
- The Shadow in the North
- The Tiger in the Well
- The Tin Princess
- Sally Lockhart: Main character, a young woman who develops passion for solving mysteries after her father's death. "Uncommonly pretty" and works as a financial consultant.
- Jim Taylor: Sally's friend a young lovable Londoner who is courageous and outgoing. An office boy, helps Sally solve her mysteries.
- Frederick Garland: Love interest for Sally, photographer with an imaginative streak.
- Ah Ling: Villain in several of the books.
- Adelaide: Orphan who becomes a main character through the series.
- Action Girl - Sally
- Bavarian Fire Drill: Jim and Frederick pull one in The Shadow in the North to get back files stolen from Sally's office. It's not their first time.
Jim: We've done it before... It's funny, ain't it, Fred? Amazing what you can get away with. You could walk in anywhere with a bit of paper in your hand--you could get away with murder, almost.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Sally and Frederick fight for a lot of the second book.
- Can't Stand Them Can't Live Without Them: Sally and Fred's attitude to one another for much of the second book.
- The Charmer- Jim
- Conveniently an Orphan - Adelaide
- Death by Sex: It's... unfortunate that Frederick dies not long after he and Sally first have sex.
- Deceased Parents Are the Best - Sally's father
- Everyone Can See It: Jim reflects that Sally and Fred are made for one another, so why do they have to fight all the time?
- Evil Cripple
- Fair Play Whodunnit
- Fiery Redhead - Rosa Garland
- The Film of the Book
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Jim and Fred.
- Her Heart Will Go On
- Heroic Sacrifice: Alas, poor Chaka and Frederick.
- Hey, It's That Guy! - Sally and Jim are Rose and Eleven, Mrs. Holland is Mrs. Weasley, Frederick is Henry Tilney, Hendrick Van Eedan is Lost in Austen's Darcy, and Axel Bellman is Lane Pryce.
- Historical Fantasy
- Lady of Adventure
- Like Brother and Sister: Jim and Sally. Another character says this of them at one point.
- Love At First Sight: Jim falls in love like this twice. Frederick tells Sally that he's loved her since their first meeting.
- Love Epiphany: "Do you know where I realised that? It was in the patent library..."
- London Gangster
- Married to the Job: Sally for quite some time.
- The Name Is Bond, James Bond
- Opium Den
- Platonic Life Partners: Jim and Sally.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Frederick gives a brutal one to Sally in The Shadow in the North.
Frederick: There's you and there's the rest of us, and we're all inferior... Have you any idea of how unlikable you are, Sally? At your best you're magnificent, and I loved you for it. At your worst you're nothing but a smooth, self-righteous, patronizing bitch.
- Rags to Royalty - Adelaide
- Royals Who Actually Do Something - Adelaide
- Second Love
- Shoot the Dog: Unfortunately, a literal example. Sally's dog Chaka is killed in The Shadow in the North. It's a Heroic Sacrifice.
- So Beautiful It's a Curse: Lady Mary.
- Someone to Remember Him By
- Victorian London
- The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask - Adelaide again
- Yellow Peril