The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
My 10 year bought this book but after a while found it too scary to read to herself in bed so I stepped in to read it to her. Therefore I started part way through the story and had to wait to read the beginning later!
The book is set it what appears to be modern day England but a country with a Problem. The dead are coming back to haunt the living as Visitors (ghosts) and people are dying. Only children can see or sense the presence of the ghosts and are sent with adults to trace the Sources and destroy them. Their weapons are iron and fire which are the only way to defeat the dangerous creatures.
Lucy Carlyle has fled from her inept supervisor in the north of England to seek employment in London with one of the top agencies. Despite her uncanny ability to sense a ghosts emotions she is only accepted by Anthony Lockwood who is himself not an adult. Their first big assignment ends in disaster and the company are threatened with closure by DEPRAC (who license all agents) and they face financial ruin.
Their only hope appears to be solving a 50 year old murder mystery and gaining favourable publicity. Then they are made an offer too generous to resist: discovering and eliminating the source at England's most haunted house Combe Carey. All they need to do is survive a night in the house with the "screaming staircase" and the ominous Red Room... Other agents have died trying..
A gripping combination of ghost story and murder mystery. My daughter and I both thoroughly enjoyed this book and it was hard to put down. Not one for the easily scared though as it could give nightmares...
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