Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Book: The Mummy, The Will, and the Crypt

One nice thing about being at the doctor's office for four hours today was that I was able to read a whole book! A nice little Bellairs gothic adventure. Love these.

This was a Johnny Dixon novel -- as any Bellairs fan know, Johnny Dixon rocks! Johnny Dixon, a mild-mannered twelve-year-old, is having some problems. His grandma has a brain tumor, and his dad -- a fighter in the Korean War -- has just been reported missing. Luckily, he's recently discovered some clues that he hopes will help him discover the missing will of a local multi-millionaire, the eccentric cereal-magnate. If he finds the will, he will be rewarded with $10,000 -- enough to pay for a world-class brain surgeon.

Unfortunately, the relatives of the cereal king have other plans. Delving deep into the occult, they have raised The Guardian, who will turn you into a mummy if you get too close to the will. Four people have already been reported missing... will Johnny be next?

Loved it. What I really appreciate about these spooky novels for younger readers is that it just gets right to the heart of the matter. There's a crazy innkeeper trying to kill Johnny -- and Johnny knows it. So he runs away. Logical, right? Instead of wondering about it for twenty pages, he just grabs his flashlight and runs. A mummy is after him, clawing at his neck as he tries to find an entrance into the mansion -- he doesn't wonder if it's really a mummy -- it IS a mummy! So much simpler.

Written in Bellairs' inimitable style with wit and humor, this is a perfect example of why the original, early Bellairs novels are so wonderful. Just creepy enough, with eccentric characters and unexpected twists, plus real ghosts and mummies and witches. What more could you want?

Plus, there are some excellent Edward Gorey illustrations throughout. Try to find a hardcover with the original Gorey artwork on the cover.


Carl V. said...

What a great review. I have not read a Bellairs novel since I was very, very young but I do credit him with sowing the seeds of my love for Edward Gorey's work. I have been disappointed to see reprintings of his work with non-Gorey covers. To my nostalgic heart that is just wrong! I need to remedy my long hiatus from these books and start searching the library again, the place where I discovered them the first time.

Daphne said...

It is just plain wrong, Carl. The original covers are part of what makes the book so atmospheric!!

Nymeth said...

This sounds so good! I still haven't read any of the Johnny Dixon novels. I really have to amend that. And Edward Gorey illustrations are always a plus :)

Daphne said...

It really is a good one -- I would start with The House With A Clock In Its Walls -- it's the first and BEST of all the Bellairs YA books.

Kate said...

Oh, The Mummy is the best! It's always been my favorite - and not coincidentally, I suppose, the one I read first.