Ghost-tracking teenage gumshoes and their medium colleague take on new cases in Dugger’s (The Fantastic Phantasmic Detective Agency and the Rebel Realm, 2016) YA supernatural-mystery sequel.
In many ways, Abby Grant, Billy Miller, and Toby Moore are typical teenagers, with their fledgling detective agency headquartered in a treehouse. Their clients, however, are ghosts, sent to them from the OtherWorld StopOver, a temporary residence for spirits on the way to their final resting place. Joined by an adult medium named Arthur Monsento, the trio’s newest assignment is to retrieve a ghost cat named Fluffy from a pet cemetery. But it’s not as easy as it sounds: they’ll need help from Kayla, a talking ghost dog, which necessitates recovering her stolen amulet from a spooky, possibly haunted house. Sadly, this may be less dicey than their next case, in which UnderWorld realm walker/bounty hunter Zeaflin (from Dugger’s previous series installment) asks them to find a spirit named Nathan, a fugitive from an UnderWorld detention center. But this turns out to be just the beginning of an increasingly complicated and dangerous case that involves the possibility of demonic retribution. In this witty sequel, Abby’s first-person narration includes frequent, rather charming reminders of her age: sure, she and the others could be facing black magic in one of their investigations, but she also has math homework to do. Periodic instances from Monsento’s perspective, meanwhile, address other, more adult issues, such as when he’s clearly hesitant to visit a pub for the first time in a year. Throughout, Dugger includes welcome moments of comic relief, as when the medium wearily muses, “Why don’t these kids ever ask for money up front?” The mystery is fully revealed by the start of the final act, at which point the possibility of a trip to the UnderWorld to assist a friend will hold readers’ attention.
A delightful installment in a series that promises more fun and otherworldly miscreants to come.