Young people at a Catskills resort band together to head off (so to speak) some ghostly chicanery.
A rash of kitchen accidents and vandalism has the Pine Grove Hotel’s owner, Mrs. Liebman, convinced that the ghost of her Bubbie Bluma is trying to drive her away. Not only that, but repeated appearances of a headless horseman like the one in the Washington Irving story have the summer guests on edge and ready to decamp. Moreover, the horseman’s harassing Zeke Parker, a solitary old neighbor who was born in slavery. So instead of the dull summer he was expecting, young white New Yorker Sammy Levin finds himself part of “The Ichabods,” a squad of young people who sneak out at night to investigate. He also discovers hidden talents after the resort’s tummler (social director) enlists him to entertain the guests—bringing tears with his rendition of “My Yiddishe Mama” and even singing a duet with Eddie Cantor. Arato lines up suspects (notably a backwoods “mountain man” who calls Zeke a “darkie”) and contrived but leading clues, using real locations to enhance the period flavor and rounding out her characters with reminiscences by Zeke of his youth and by Sammy of life back in Poland during the late war.
Some scary moments and a juicy slice of history distinguish this credible mystery. (historical note, glossary of Yiddish) (Historical fiction/mystery. 10-12)