Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The ghost at the point by Charlotte Calder

I must confess at first glance this book seems to fit into two genres which I usually do not enjoy - Ghost Story and Historical Fiction. That said I really did enjoy this book.  It is not actually a ghost story at all even though the title mentions a ghost and the historical aspects (it is the 1930's) were not a major theme.  If I had to put a genre label I would say The ghost at the point is a mystery story.

Dorrie lives with her grandfather on an island accessible only by boat from the main land.  They live on the far side of the island where there are very few inhabitants and no electricity   They enjoy a simple life of companionship and fishing.  They grow their own vegetables and raise chooks for eggs and  Gah makes a living selling the fish they catch each day. Dorrie goes to school on horseback and the only real interruption to their lives so far has been a short visit by Aunt Gertrude, Gah's sister, a few years earlier.  Aunt Gertrude has now died but her visit was motivated by concern that Gah might be letting Dorrie run wild. The simple lifestyle and outside 'thunder box' mean this city person does not stay long.  While she is visiting, though, Aunt Gertrude mentions that she feels the presence of a ghost and that as a young girl she actually saw a ghost in this house.

Gah has a bad accident and Dorrie takes him to hospital.  She is determined to stay home and look after her precious cat Poppy but she is also fearful of night-time noises which at first she thinks might be the ghost.  Then things start to go missing from the kitchen and finally she spies a young boy hiding in the bush.  There is a connection between Dorrie and this boy called Alonso and some treasure that Aunt Gertrude has mentioned in the past.  Two swindlers have obtained a map showing the location of the treasure so now there is a race to the finish to see who will claim the prize and solve the mystery.

I will make a prediction that this book will be short listed for the CBCA awards in 2013.  I should have expected this to be a good book to read based on the publisher.  Walker Books editors have an exceptional eye for talent.

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