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“I can’t stay here to be murdered in my bed by ghosts,” the cook gasped. “No one said anything about hauntings when I took the job. I’m leaving—now!” –The Case of the Phantom Cat
The Case of the Phantom Cat
The Mysteries of Maisie Hitchins #3
by Holly Webb
In book three of Holly Webb’s The Mysteries of Maisie Hitchins, twelve-year-old Maisie and her dog, Eddie, are invited to join Maisie’s friend, Alice, on a trip to the country. But there’s something strange about the manor where they’re staying. Odd noises, horrid smells, and spectral sightings abound. Alice is terrified, but Maisie is skeptical. She doesn’t really believe in ghosts. Does she? There must be another explanation for the odd happenings, and Maisie plans to use her detecting skills to find out just what it is!
Maisie and Alice are friends despite being from different social classes. While Alice goes to French lessons, Maisie is dusting, cleaning, and running errands. The story hints that Maisie isn’t a proper friend for Alice because of their social class. Readers may wonder why the governess, Mrs. Sidebothan is rude to Maisie and expects her to help the servants clean. Mrs. Sidebothan is snooty and lazy which allows the girls to make fun of her. For example, Maisie “comforted herself that at least she didn’t have a name that sounded exactly like Side Bottom. And the bottom to match.”
The mystery revolves around strange noises, a bad smell, and a ghost-like cat. The story is spooky without being scary and the girls show bravery when they investigate the strange happenings. In the end, Maisie is able to discover a plausible reason for each thing that was attributed to ghosts. Readers will enjoy seeing Maisie and Alice band together to solve the mystery.
Even though the mystery is solved in a satisfactory way, The Case of the Phantom Cat has an abrupt ending that leaves the readers with plenty of questions. Despite this, readers will enjoy exploring a strange house with secret passages and how Maisie’s dog, Eddie, helps solve the mystery. While the content is appropriate for younger readers, they may need help with the difficult vocabulary. The characters use words and phrases that fit with the old-fashioned time period, such as guts for garters, insolent, hogwash, and stickler.
The story ends with reading comprehension questions as well as information about the time period, such as explaining how Calves’-foot jelly is made. Even though The Case of the Phantom Cat is the third book in the series, the books do not need to be read in order. Readers who want a little ghostly fun will enjoy The Case of the Phantom Cat. With eight short chapters and cute black and white illustrations, The Case of the Phantom Cat gives readers a chance to see if they can piece together the mystery’s clues themselves.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Alice says “oh drat” once.