GHOST CANOE by Will Hobbs


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Hobbs (Beardream, p. 462, etc.), setting his novel on Washington's Cape Flattery in 1874, presents a hero who not only has the intelligence to solve a murder, but the resources to help bring a killer to justice. Nathan MacAllister, 14, has a fairly exciting life as a de facto assistant lighthouse keeper to his father, retired Captain Zachary MacAllister. When not tending the lighthouse, Nathan looks after his sick mother and fishes with a friend, Lighthouse George, a Makah fisherman. When a sailing ship, the L.S. Burnaby, crashes on the rocks near the lighthouse, and the captain's murdered body washes ashore, Nathan becomes an amateur sleuth. At first, he believes (as the Makah do) that an evil spirit is at work, but certain events--his neighbor, Captain Bim, burying a treasure box at night, the discovery of a skeleton in a Makah canoe hanging in the treetops, the appearance of a charismatic yet strange new shopkeeper, Mr. Kane--lead Nathan to sensibly conclude that the mystery has more to do with real people than ghosts. While the mystery is compelling, it is Hobbs's deft weaving of Makah culture into the story that resonates, from their harvesting of wood without cutting any trees to their generosity to friends. A robust adventure in an intriguing setting.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0380725371
Page count: 195pp
Publisher: Morrow