This is a zany, imaginative story about spiders, cobwebs, dusting and ghosts. The insect-loving reader who opens this book (with its cover illustration of a gross hairy spider) expecting a thriller about arachnids taking over the world should be patient. The reader first gets an interesting insight into what life was like for a young girl training to be a domestic servant in the 1880s. Finn, who loves spiders, and his sister Phoebe have moved to live in an old schoolhouse in the country, which they discover used to be a servants’ school in the 1880s, and is haunted by the ghost of Lady Withers, who ran the school. Dusting and cleaning get mixed up with cobwebs and spiders, the present gets mixed up with the past in a series of letters posted through the centuries, and the reader gets mixed up in this strange quirky world. But thrill-seekers won’t be disappointed as the story builds to an exciting spider-filled climax.
By flicking the pages of this paperback from Puffin, a dark venomous spider runs up and down the pages. Nice effect. Another surprise from Puffin is the typos. You can play ‘hunt the mistake’ on pages 91 and 97.
Suitable for the upper end of this age group and upwards.