The Haunting

Style: Good

Attitude: Positive

Cover of The Haunting

Author: Margaret Mahy

Age Range: Pre Teens

Period: Contemporary

Genres:  FamilyMagic


8-year-old Barney Palmer is aware that he is being haunted by a small boy, whom he suspects to be the ghost of his great-uncle Cole, supposedly dead these 50 years, and special friend of his great-uncle Barnaby who has just died. His sisters try to help him and his older relatives seem to know more about Cole than they are telling. It seems that Cole was the magician who surfaces every generation in the Scholar family. Eventually Cole turns up alive and the new family magician is found.


Not a terribly tension-ridden plot; the denouement is fairly easy to guess, but is nonetheless handled well, as is its aftermath. The especially nice thing about the story is the day-to-day normality of the Palmer family (expectant stepmother, father, Barney and two teenage sisters). Although there is the element of magic in the story, it does not intrude unduly into the characters and one can feel their reality while sensing the slight unreality of the plot itself.

Tuesday 1st January 2002