When old Nicholas Greebe dies on a wintry day, his shivering family buries him hastily in a shallow grave. Shortly thereafter, a pooch unearths one of Greebe's bones and launches it, through a series of coincidences, on an epic journey to distant lands. For a hundred years Greebe's ghost haunts his old home, unable to rest until the bone is returned. It is, and the story ends. The story begins promisingly, and the telling has attitude: slightly formal, mostly tongue-in-cheek. But Johnston (Three Little Bikers, 1994, etc.) disappoints readers because her threadbare characters don't deliver. The ghost is not fearsome because, based on the family's shoddy treatment of Greebe's remains, his outrage is justifiable. The events that lead to the bone's return are random, rather than ironic, and never compelling. Schindler's best pen-and-ink efforts, suggestive of Edward Gorey in New England mode, put some meat on these bones, but this sputtering tale wouldn't spook Ichabod Crane.