When Jon Whitcroft was sent away to boarding school he knew exactly who to blame: the Beard, his mother's new boyfriend. If it wasn't for him, Jon's mother would never have thought of sending him away to Salisbury, even if it was Jon's father's old school.
But it doesn't take Jon long to realise that the Beard and school are the least of his worries. Not when there's a sinister gang of ghosts out to get him! If only there was another ghost, a good one, that he could call on for help...
I loved ghost stories when I was younger, I knew loads and had a great time scaring all my friends with them. As such I found Stourton and his gang a bit dull. Oh, they had a good entrance, but I don't think I would have found reading about them all that scary, even at ten. For me they were a bit too stupid to be truly menacing. Longspee was interesting though, and Aleister was convincingly snotty.
Jon was an all right main character, though a bit whiny at times, while Ella was great. There's also a nice feeling of age and history, with real places (Salisbury cathedral, the school, Stonehenge) and real people (Longspee, Stourton, Ela). I did think the peril ended surprisingly early, though, leaving just the quest to trickle out towards the fairly ordinary ending. Because of that it was a little difficult to maintain my interest all the way through, though the pictures should help keep the attention of slower readers.
Written in a nice, easy style - which confident readers might find too easy at times - history and ghost fans should enjoy this. It's quite charming, but I felt it lacked the originality and imagination that Funke usually creates.