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Books 18-19: Lockwood and Co: The Dagger in the Desk and The Whispering Skull

Book 18: Lockwood and Co: The Dagger in the Desk (Lockwood and Co. #1.5).
Author: Jonathan Stroud, 2015.
Genre: Young Adult. Urban Fantasy. Ghosts.
Other Details: ebook. 44 pages.

In London, a mysterious and potentially deadly ghost is stalking the halls of St Simeon’s Academy for Talented Youngsters. It lurks in the shadows, spreading fear and icy cold – and it carries a sharp and very solid dagger . . .The headmaster wastes no time in enlisting the help of ghost-hunters Anthony Lockwood, Lucy Carlyle and George Cubbins. Can Lockwood and Co. survive the night and save the day? - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

An e-short, which provided an interesting story featuring Lockwood and Co. It could also serve as a good introduction for someone who wished a taster for the series. I was already enjoying Book 2 very much when this was published in the UK and it and the closing illustrated gallery of ghosts was a pleasant diversion.

Book 19: Lockwood and Co: The Whispering Skull (Lockwood and Co. #2).
Author: Jonathan Stroud, 2014.
Genre: Young Adult. Urban Fantasy. Ghosts.
Other Details: Unabridged Audiobook. (11 hrs, 37 mns). Read by Katie Lyons.

Life is never exactly peaceful for Lockwood and Co. Lucy and George are trying to solve the mystery of the talking skull trapped in their ghost jar, while Lockwood is desperate for an exciting new case. Things seem to be looking up when the team is called to Kensal Green Cemetery to investigate the grave of a sinister Victorian doctor. Strange apparitions have been seen there, and the site must be made safe. As usual, Lockwood is confident; as usual, everything goes wrong – a terrible phantom is unleashed, and a dangerous object is stolen from the coffin. Lockwood and Co must recover the relic before its power is unleashed, but it’s a race against time. Their obnoxious rivals from the Fittes agency are also on the hunt. And if that’s not bad enough, the skull in the ghost-jar is stirring again… - synopsis from UK publisher's website.

I officially love this series. It is not only a chilling ghost story but has a great deal of witty dialogue including from the skull - indeed he seems to get all the best lines. A new supporting character, relic-woman Flo Bones, could easily have stepped out of a Dickens novel. Indeed, while the series is certainly contemporary it does feel as though the Problem has left London in almost a time bubble as though the Victorian era never ended even if technology moved on. I do wonder what else changed in terms of history and how Britain deals with the rest of the world, who appear not to be subject to this epidemic of hauntings.

A few hints are given about the Problem and hopefully this will be explored in upcoming books. Katie Lyons, the narrator of this audiobook, did a great job of bringing Lucy and the other characters to life and I certain;y will consider getting future books in the series on audio.
Tags: british, ghosts, urban fantasy, young adult
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