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Book: The Mummy, The Will, and the Crypt

October 8, 2008

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.

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