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by Betty Ren Wright
Jacqueline Rogers, Illustrator

Trade Binding | 160 pages | 6 1/2 X 8 3/4 | US$ 6.95
ISBN: 9780823419456 | 04-01-2006

Grade: FOURTH | Age: 7 to 10

Themes: Mystery & Suspense, Supernatural

About the Book
When a confident girl named Princess arrives to spend a week with Roddy's family, she encourages him to help her investigate the suspicious activities happening at a supposedly haunted house.


"Boys and girls alike will appreciate the mix of classic and contemporary elements in this creepy, suspenseful middle-grade mystery."—The Bulletin

"When Roddy Hall's mom tells him that Princess will be visiting, he assumes that a dog is coming. Upon her arrival, he is horrified to see that his guest is a girl, and a spunky, bossy girl to boot. Roddy plans to ignore her as much as possible but Princess is determined to investigate the supposedly haunted house in the neighborhood. When she starts sneaking out during the night, he feels compelled to keep her company and watch out for her. But Princess is fearless and Roddy is forced to do more investigating than he bargains for. In the end, the children discover stolen goods in the house and help the police capture the burglars. The story moves quickly and is excellently paced. Princess is as plucky and daring as Roddy is reluctant and thoughtful. The two make a believable team and Wright provides just the right amount of suspense and tension. The full-page illustrations add realism and depth to the story. This will be a great choice for kids looking for a fun summer read."—School Library Journal

"In this short thriller by the author of The Dollhouse Murders (1983) and many others, Wright calls into play the children's mystery trifecta: kids, ghosts, and a creepy old house. Just when Roddy is worried sick about his dad, a soldier in Afghanistan, his mother agrees to look after an extremely bossy girl, Princess. When the adventure-seeking guest notices suspicious activity at an abandoned house, Roddy wants to steer clear; his best friend's eccentric uncle Ring, who claims to see spirits, says the place harbors "the worst kind of ghost." Undaunted, Princess engineers stakeouts that lead to a scary climax, which involves flesh-and-blood thieves but doesn't completely rule out the possibility of ghostly doings. It's hard to argue with Wright's blend of shivery suspense and realism. Roddy's caution and Princess' bravado seem realistically rooted in their respective family situations. Occasional full-page illustrations capture the spooky moments better than the jacket artwork, which, like the humdrum title, gives little hint of the excitement within."—Booklist


Betty Ren Wright is the distinguished author of numerous books for young readers. Her thrillers, including The Dollhouse Murders, Christina's Ghost, and Crandall's Castle, have each won numerous state awards. In addition to her middle-grade mysteries, Ms. Wright has also penned more than thirty-five picture books for children, including The Blizzard, which appeared on state award master lists and was a Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year. In 2006 she was honored as a Notable Wisconsin Children's Author by the Wisconsin Library Association. Ms. Wright lives in Wisconsin.

Jaqueline Rogers has illustrated more than ninety books for children. Her titles from Holiday House include Cars, Turkey's Together, and One Tractor: A Counting Book

Jaqueline Rogers has illustrated more than ninety books for children. Her titles from Holiday House include Cars, Turkey's Together, and One Tractor: A Counting Book.