THE GHOST BELONGED TO ME
From the Blossom Culp series, volume 1
"There are several opinions that people hold regarding ghosts, and not one of them would clinch an argument." So Richard Peck, betraying a twinge of embarrassment, sort of backs in to the ghost story genre. But once under way he has a great time, calling up a classic spook, little Inez Dumaine who wanders about the Armsworth barn leaving wet footprints, casting a bright pink aura, and muttering cryptic phrases like "my hoops, my hoops." Inez also warns young Alexander Armsworth of an impending trolley disaster, and the advance information makes Alexander a hero and the Armsworth ghost a cause celebre overnight. The ensuing mayhem is awkward for Alexander's social climbing mother and sister Lucille, and a delight to the plucky spider-legged girl next door, Blossom Culp, who finds her faith in THE UNSEEN vindicated and at the same time makes money sneaking newspaper reporters into the barn. But it takes eccentric Uncle Miles to set things right; he alone knows the true story of Inez's watery fate, and takes Inez's recovered bones back to New Orleans for burial, lodging them (along with Alexander and Blossom) with a very discreetly disguised madam. This haunting is slapstick most of the way, and anyone who worries about the tender feelings of Inez (or for that matter poor sister Lucille) might find it all impossibly silly. But Peck throws in enough scary moments to prove that he'd be a winner in any campfire storytelling session, and in that spirit he will keep his audience giggling and just a little frightened at the same time.