________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 9 . . . . January 3, 2003


Return of the Grudstone Ghosts. (Canadian Chills).

Arthur Slade.
Regina, SK: Coteau Books, 2002.
119 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 1-55050-212-3.

Subject Heading:
Moose Jaw (Sask.)-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Christina Neigel.

*** /4


No, I had always believed in sticking it out to the very end. Digging until I hit bottom. Never retreat, never surrender!

Yes, I’m hard-headed. It comes in handy when you want to be a detective.

For a brief instant I thought of gingersnap cookies. Only for a microsecond, but it was enough to make me salivate. My feet automatically took me to my grandma’s house.

Return of the Grudstone Ghosts is the first volume in a “Canadian Chills,” Arthur Slade’s new mystery series which introduces readers to Daphne Shea who, along with her two friends, Peach and Nick, is thrown into a gripping mystery in the small town of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Determined to find out why Daphne’s sixth grade teacher has fallen from the school’s belfry tower, Daphne begins poking around. Her investigations lead her to a janitor who has been tied up, ghostly apparitions in the belfry tower, and an oddly behaving school principal.

     Daphne is an intelligent and likeable 12-year-old whose inner dialogue somewhat resembles that of a comical 1950's detective. She inspires readers with her self assurance and clear sense of identity.

     I love my name. It’s old sounding and a little silly, and people always think because of my name and my glasses and my plain brown hair that I don’t know what’s going on. But I do. Just ask Peach and Nick, my two closest friends here in the Jaw. I’m pretty good at guessing things, and I’ve got a rep of being a Sherlock and a young scientist too.

Daphne’s actions do not greatly exceed the capabilities of many kids her age, making it easier for the reader to suspend his or her disbelief. Despite the rather flat characterizations, the book is entertaining. Other than Daphne’s grandma (who is also Daphne’s mentor), the adults in the story are very thinly cast. The story centres solely on Daphne’s experience as a detective. There is a mystery to be solved, and she will not rest until it done.

     Fast paced, the story takes place within the course of one day. Daphne exercises a unique freedom that allows her to pursue her investigations late into the night without parental consent or knowledge. For young mystery buffs, this novel will have great appeal, particularly if they like ghosts!


Christina Neigel is the Instruction Librarian for the University College of the Cariboo in Kamloops, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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