A supernatural mystery featuring two friends solving a puzzle from the past involving a ghostly house.
Derek and Ravine are best friends who live on Water Street, a happy, normal place to be a ten-year-old kid–except for that strange house at No. 56. When the friends discover that only they can see the abandoned house, they uncover research that sends chills down their spines–the dwelling has a haunted past. They also discover a tormented ghost haunting the place who wants their attention and, they learn, their help. Isabel Roberts died with her parents in a fire at 56 Water St. and she longs to know the fate of her little sister, Sarah. Isabel communicates this to Derek and Ravine through a supernatural blend of dreams and direct contact that involves a lot of chilly breezes, darkness and shivers down the spine–just the sort of frightening (though not too frightening) details kids love. The book also includes numerous enjoyable special effects–Derek’s drawings of the house disappear, and the children become invisible when they walk onto the lawn at 56 Water, also finding that time stands still while they’re there. Occasionally, too-convenient coincidences may irritate the otherwise-absorbed reader. Ms. Jewels, the psychic who the kids hire for their school fair, informs the two that they’re mediums and happens to live on Water Street as well. Still, Strangway wisely explains that these are not merely coincidences. Derek and Ravine’s cross-gender friendship is nicely drawn and there’s a meaningful parallel plot of loss–like the ghostly Isabel, Ravine also has a little sister who died. Though some older readers may be tempted to scoff at the ghostly plot driving the story–Isabel must be given peace so she can get back to the light–most kids won’t be bothered.
An engaging debut featuring a young pair of psychic detectives.