A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren't exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see-and eradicate-these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business.
In The Screaming Staircase, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood & Co. survive the Hall's legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day?
Readers who enjoyed the action, suspense, and humor in Jonathan Stroud's internationally best-selling Bartimaeus books will be delighted to find the same ingredients, combined with deliciously creepy scares, in his thrilling and chilling Lockwood & Co. series.
In what has come to be called "the Problem," the British Isles have become plagued with ghostly Visitors in this highly entertaining first book in Stroud's Lockwood & Co. series. Since children and young teenagers are most able to sense the ghosts, psychically gifted youths are employed by agencies large and small, and use iron chains, magnesium flares, and salt bombs to contain and dispatch the Visitors. Narrator Lucy Carlyle has moved to London following a ghost-hunting mission gone very wrong, and her luck improves when she joins a small, independent outfit run by the dashing Anthony Lockwood and his studious and exasperating (to Lucy) partner, George Cubbins. Stroud (the Bartimaeus series) shows his customary flair for blending deadpan humor with thrilling action, and the fiery interplay among the three agents of Lockwood & Co. invigorates the story (along with no shortage of creepy moments). Stroud plays with ghost story conventions along the way, while laying intriguing groundwork that suggests that the Problem isn't the only problem these young agents will face in books to come the living can be dangerous, too. Ages 8 12.