The Tin Princess
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The fourth of the 'Sally Lockhart' novels with their twists and turns of Victorian plots - in this case a cockney prostitute caught up in the intrigues of a small European state (a setting like The Prisoner of Zenda) as a gallant princess. It's full of wonderful intrigue and great scenes of action and, while not the best of the series (sadly leaving Sally herself to a minor role), it's great fun. This sequence of books is one way of making pre-20th-century literature more accessible - perhaps others could follow Pullman's example and make more use of melodrama.