THE PHANTOM OF WALKAWAY HILL by Edward Fenton
Kirkus Star

THE PHANTOM OF WALKAWAY HILL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

James leaves New York City to visit his cousins in their secluded, newly occupied country home. A power failure during a snow storm, odd footprints in the snow and a suspected face at the window lead the children to a trap door in the barn beneath which lies Barney Rudkin, caretaker for old, now deceased, Mrs. Houghton, previous owner of Walkaway Hill. A broken leg has incapacitated Barney in his efforts to rid the property of ""unwelcome strangers"" who are hampering his search for a rumored fortune. On an expedition to the attic, the children and Maggie, Mrs. Houghton's beloved collie, unearth a last will and testament, bequeathing Walkaway Hill (mortgage free) to anyone who provides a decent home for the dog. This simple plot, in what may appear to be a routine mystery, unfolds in a unique manner through a witty, highly individual style. Mr. Fenton writes in the role of James, and his perception of the interests, wishes and feelings of his ""hero"" convinces us of the ""reality"" of our juvenile author. Situations unrelated to the main mystery add substance and depth to the plot. The children's reactions to the first snowy morning in the country, their ""abominable snowman"", the games they play when the power fails, other amusing incidents and some downright funny dialogue (""If life hands you a lemon, make lemonade"") furnish wide areas of identification and enjoyment for young readers. An outstanding and welcome addition to a field over-populated with mediocrity.

Pub Date: March 3rd, 1961
Publisher: Doubleday