The Five O'Clock Ghost
Review: Claire and her ghost friend Kaz have formed the C & K Ghost Detective Agency, solving mysterious crimes in their neighborhood. And they have a new case, in The Five O'Clock Ghost, the fourth mystery in this series for children by Dori Hillestad Butler.
One of Claire's friends has hired her to explain some recent mysterious events in his house. Recently, at 5 o'clock every afternoon, their garage door opens, the TV displays wavy lines, and strange noises can be heard on any electronic device that is turned on. He suspects his house is haunted, and needs Claire to confirm it. Claire and Kaz visit — as a ghost, only certain people can see Kaz, Claire being one of them — and sure enough, exactly at 5 o'clock, the garage door goes up, the TV screen goes crazy, and a disembodied voice can be heard, though the words are muffled. Neither Claire nor Kaz see a ghost, but they can't explain what's going on either. With the reputation of their agency on the line, they had better come up with a solution … and fast!
The Five O'Clock Ghost is a charming story with a well-structured mystery, though one with a solution that almost certainly will be far too obscure for today's generation of children. Indeed, few, if any, readers will have even heard of the cause of Claire's friend's phenomena. (Spoiler alert: it is not a ghost!) Which is a bit of a disappointment, as part of the fun of reading mysteries at this age is trying to come up the answer before the intrepid young sleuth does, or at least tagging along with her as she has her "aha" moment and sharing in the excitement.
This entry in the series can readily be read as a stand-alone, but it should be noted its subplot is part of an overall series arc. For new readers, there are a few places in the story that seem in need of more explanation. Too, Kaz in particular seems to participate little in solving the mystery as he is more concerned with finding his family and keeping control of his ghost dog. The overall story would be stronger if he played a more active role. These relatively minor issues do not, however, significantly detract from the enjoyment in following along with Claire and Kaz as they solve the mystery of what happens at five o'clock.
The Five O'Clock Ghost is labeled by the publisher as recommended for readers aged 6 to 8. Its Lexile measure is 530L.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided a copy of The Five O'Clock Ghost for this review.
Review Copyright © 2015 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Five O'Clock Ghost:
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The Five O'Clock Ghost by Dori Hillestad Butler — The Haunted Library
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
Publication Date: March 2015
List Price: $12.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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