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by Peg Kehret

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-525-46162-0
Publisher: Dutton

Twelve-year-old Josh expected his summer with an elderly relative in Carbon City, Wash. to be utterly boring. However, his aunt turns out to be amusingly eccentric, and a secluded tree house in the woods is a perfect place to read and watch deer. There he encounters the ghost of a one-legged coal miner, Willy Martin. Willie asks him to dig up his lost leg and bury it with the rest of his body. Surprisingly, Josh agrees, but he finds more than just leg bones; the man who stole the money the town had raised for an animal shelter had hidden it in the leg’s uncared-for grave. Josh’s first-person narrative literally opens with a bang, as Aunt Ethel shoots a bat in her kitchen his first night there. The action moves quickly to the suspenseful moment when the robber, seeking to retrieve his treasure, threatens Josh at gunpoint. A subplot involving taming an abandoned cat may add interest for animal lovers. Easy to booktalk, this is a solidly plotted ghost story for middle-grade readers. (Fiction. 9-12)