Winding up the hocus-pocus begun in The House With the Clock in Its Walls (1973), this takes Lewis' friend Rose Rita on a Northern Michigan vacation with Mrs. Zimmerman, the grandmotherly witch who has just inherited a cousin's farm up there. But another old lady, jealous of Mrs. Zimmerman for stealing her beau 45 years earlier, uses witchcraft and a magic ring to turn her rival into a hen, and Rose Rita, snooping about, is almost killed herself before she gets hold of the ring. . . saving her friend Mrs. Z, who must then save her from the ring's compelling power. "I wish I were a boy" is, Bellairs hints, what baseball-playing Rose Rita is about to intone--but despite the satisfying exactness of his time-and-place details, Bellairs' understanding of a 1950 "tomboy" is only skin deep. And of course his sorcery only skims the cauldron.