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The English airfield that Harrie Armstrong, eleven, and her twelve-year-old brother Ian cut through on their way home from school is said to be haunted by airmen killed in ""the war."" But that spookiness is as nothing compared to the events that are set off when, showing the way to fat, squeaky-voiced newcomer Noel, they discover a dead man in the nearby woods. The body is gone when Ian returns with an obviously skeptical policeman. Then Harrie, hiding at the airfield, overhears two strangers plotting with the new gamekeeper (employed by Mr. Ashworth, the gentleman farmer for whom Mr. Armstrong is head cowman) and concludes that they are the rustlers who've been raiding local farms at night. And so the next night, with their parents at a meeting for an anti-rustler patrol, Ian and Harrie take their dog off to the airfield to check things out. While Noel, admitting cowardice, stays home to watch from his window, Harrie and Ian surprise the rustlers at work (the gamekeeper among them) and manage to save Mr. Ashworth's cattle. The dog gives them away, however (he'll redeem himself later); and they are chased round the airfield by the murderous rustlers before Noel, alerted by a tire set off in the melee, ""bravely"" stops the getaway truck as his mother calls the police and firemen. Less ambitious than Prince's previous novels, this is successful in its niche--a straightforward mystery with adeptly tuned suspense and more than the usual texture.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1983
Publisher: Morrow