Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years

The Screaming Staircase

Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years

The Screaming Staircase

Article excerpt

Title: The screaming staircase, from the Lockwood & Co series Author: Jonathan Stroud Publisher: Random House, 2013

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Jonathan Stroud's first instalment in his new series, Lockwood & Co, is The screaming staircase, which is set in an alternate, almost post-apocalyptic England. Euphemistically referred to as 'the problem', various types of ghosts and spectres roam the earth and wreak havoc on the living. Only children are sensitive enough to detect these spirits and this results in a parody of child labour with supernaturally-sensitive children and teenagers forming the frontline against 'the problem'.

Lucy Carlyle is the first person narrator and her sarcastic, yet sensitive, perspective is funny and entertaining. Lucy leaves her small hometown after a horrific investigation resulting in the death of six co-workers. And Lucy inherently blames herself. She joins Lockwood & Co which, until then, consisted of the charismatic and adventurous Anthony Lockwood and the cautious and intelligent George Cubbins. The trio tackle spirits with salt, iron, silver

and various explosives. Unfortunately, they accidentally incinerate their client's home during the course of an investigation and are sued for an exorbitant amount in damages. An elderly iron magnate conveniently offers a chance for redemption, but it means solving the mystery of the most haunted house in England, which has previously resulted in the death of all who tried.

With no adult supervision, a tiny hint of history intertwined with folklore and masses of wit, Lockwood & Co heroically and hilariously lead you through a superbly written mystery adventure with eerie ghost scenes. …

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