Friday, June 22, 2012

The Haunting of Nathaniel Wolfe by Brian Keaney
233 pgs.
Target audience: Age 9-12
Rating: Wizard

Are ghosts real or just a figment of our imagination? Hidden in the foggy depths of the East End neighborhood of Victorian London is Cicero Wolfe, a medium whose seances attract the poor, vulnerable masses desperate for closure. But his son Nathaniel who greets the guests knows the truth. His dad is an imposter, a gambler, a con artist, a man who squanders every penny he earns on gin. Young Lily Campion is a kitchen-maid for the wealthy Chesterfield family. Her mistress, Sophie, has taken ill suddenly just like her mother before her. Lily and Nathaniel's worlds collide when Nathaniel recovers Lily's stolen purse from a well known thief, Maggot Harris. The last thing Nathaniel expects to see during his father's latest performances is an actual ghost but the woman in white keeps appearing to him attempting to tell him something. Unexplained phenomena are occuring in Lily's workplace as well. They discover that the woman in white is Lily's late mistress, that Maggot Harris has been found murdered with a receipt for arsenic in his pocket and that Mr. Chesterfield is up to something most unsavory. Kids will love following clues as Lily and Nathaniel solve the ghostly mystery. Keaney creates a brilliantly detailed portrayal of Victorian London from the winding streets and shops, to the authentic dialogue and vocabulary to the well drawn characters. This is not a scary story, but rather a supernatural puzzle. There is plenty to like about this first volume of a promising new series.
(This book was provided for review by children's lit - )

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