Claire’s writer Dad loves all things spooky, especially the unknown mysteries and tragedies that happened in Chicago in the early 1900’s. His first book was a success and he now runs a bus tour company offering customers a ghostly tour of Chicago at night. When Claire is stuck helping out one evening, she gets a bit more than she bargained for. Finding an extra passenger on the bus, she is shocked when he disappears. Realising that no one else saw him makes Claire positive the extra passenger is a ghost.
Unable to share her encounter with anyone, Claire becomes more and more frightened of activities and encounters that start to happen. Weird scratching sounds, flooded drawers and resorting to sleep in her cupboard over her fears.
When she was leaving the bus, Claire noticed the ghost had left behind a tag with the number 396 written on. She doesn’t know what it means or why she is being haunted. With her lack of sleep and fear over the events, Claire falls out with her best friend and now feels truly alone. It takes older brother Sam to notice her sadness and pride out the secrets and fears. Working together they try to piece together the clues they have about the ghost.
Sam also helps Claire to make up with best friend Casley, and to make a new friend. It will take the four of them working together as a team to solve the mystery. Claire puts her scientific research skills to the test and pieces together an incredible story of Willie Novotny and the SS Eastland disaster. It is a forgotten piece of Chicago’s history and Claire believes the ghost is leading her to tell the tale.
This is a wonderfully written ghost story, bringing to life a sad and lost ghost boy looking for his family and for his story to be told and remembered. Claire is an excellent character, one who learns that change can be good, new friends are not the end of your relationship with your best friend and that secrets need to be shared. At times, scary, you can actually feel haunted by the descriptions of Claire’s encounters with Willie.
Spooky and perfect for late night reading! A sure fire hit with the over 9’s!