Living with his grandparents gives Johnny Dixon a lot of time to find trouble. Or adventure. Or is it both? In this, the first Johnny Dixon mystery, our young hero hears the spine-tingling story of Father Baart, a madman who haunts the town’s church. At first, Johnny does not believe in ghosts, but when he takes a scroll and a small Egyptian figurine from the church basement, all that changes. Soon, a mysterious stranger gives him a ring, and Johnny plunges headlong into a terrifying adventure. Along with his new friend Professor Childermass, Johnny races to solve the mystery of this very real ghost before another life is lost.
John Bellairs is beloved as a master of Gothic young adult novels and fantasies. His series about the adventures of Lewis Barnavelt and his uncle Jonathan, which includes The House with a Clock in Its Walls, is a classic. He also wrote a series of novels featuring the character Johnny Dixon. Among the titles in that series are The Curse of the Blue Figurine; The Mummy, The Will, and The Crypt; The Spell of the Sorcerer’s Skull; and others. His solo novel The Face in the Frost is also regarded as a fantasy classic, and among his earlier works are St. Fidgeta and Other Parodies and The Pedant and the Shuffly. Bellairs was a prolific writer, publishing more than one dozen novels before his untimely death in 1991.