Demelza is a scientist, an inventor – she definitely doesn’t believe in ghosts – she doesn’t much like school either, but then who would with a miserable head teacher like Ms Cardinal. When things start going bump in the night though Demelza comes to realise that her Grandma Maeve has been hiding things. Things that are about to shake up everything she believes in and send her life off in a completely different direction. Demelza is the latest in a long line of Spectre Detectors and some spooky adventures are about to begin!
If you enjoy the Spectre Collectors series by Barry Hutchison you’ll like this
– Longer review –
Demelza’s parents are dead and she lives with her Grandma Maeve in a little cottage where she passes her time inventing all manner of weird and wonderful machines. She’s a bit of a scientist and finds school an unwelcome distraction (though when the school’s motto is “Your Best Will Never Be Good enough” it’s hardly surprising!). Things aren’t helped by a pair of bullying twins and a head teacher that really doesn’t seem to like her at all.
It’s no wonder she loses herself in a world of science and relies on her best buddy, the reclusive and pale Percy, to be her confidant.
However everything that Demelza knows is about to be challenged when some spooky noises start in the middle of the night and her investigations lead her to discover that Grandma Maeve has a whole life she knew nothing about. A secret trapdoor leads her to a mysterious “cavern” from where Grandma summons ghosts back from the “Inn Memoriam” so their loved ones can spend precious final hours with them before the spirits pass over for good.
What’s more, Demelza has inherited the same powers and all her scientific beliefs are about to be turned upside down!
She’s only just getting her head around these new found skills when Grandma is kidnapped. Someone out there wants to harness her powers to bring back a loved one permanently. This is (not surprisingly) completely against the rules and Demelza is about to face the fight of her, and for her, life.
This book is full of humour and with characters that it’s impossible not to love. A fabulous mix of adventure and the everyday that all readers would be able to relate to in some way. The massive twist towards the end, that I certainly didn’t see coming, forces Demelza to examine friendships and what love means. Death can be a tricky subject for “kids” books but this story treats it in a sensitive way and with a new take on what may be out there after a loved one passes away.
A really strong start to, what promises to be, an exciting new trilogy.
Demelza & The Spectre Detectors is published by Chicken House Books and is available here.
Holly grew up in a real-life children’s book, playing the part of Drusilla in ITV’s The Worst Witch alongside Felicity Jones. She spent her childhood in Wales, wishing that she was Pippi Longstocking, and after graduating spent time working as an actor, broadcaster and cheese-seller, until one day she had the idea to pen a story about a tenacious young inventor named Demelza. Holly’s days are now spent penning new stories as well as leading drama, craft and bushcraft classes for children. She lives in Brighton with her girlfriend and still wishes that she was Pippi Longstocking.
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