A Chilling Mystery With Fascinating Characters...Riveting Suspense
Shortly after his mother dies, Johnny Dixon's father leaves him with his grandparents. Feeling displaced in a new state and town, Johnny is slow to make friends. One stormy night, and eccentric neighbor, Professor Childermass relates a ghost story about evil Father Baart who was rector of the town church in the 1880s. Soon after, Johnny discovers a hollowed out missal in the church basement that contains a miniature Egyptian figurine called a ushabti and a warning note from Father Baart. Assured by Professor Childermass that he has nothing to fear, Johnny almost forgets the warning and the ghost story until on a later visit to the church, he meets the mysterious Mr. Beard who gives him a magic ring and later summons him to a midnight meeting in the park. Johnny's unusual experiences give him nightmares and put him increasingly in the power of an evil ghost. A worried Professor Childermass tracks Johnny and is soon caught up in a world of madness which culminates in a mountaintop battle between the evil priest and enterprising professor. This is a chilling mystery with fascinating characters, riveting suspense, flashes of humor and an original plot. Although the story has a satisfying ending with no loose threads, readers will want to read the sequel that's in the making. The book jacket captures the scary Gothic elements in the story and should attract younger readers.
Anne Raymer Voice of Youth Advocates
Vol. 7, No. 1, April, 1984, p. 28.