Thursday, January 02, 2020

The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery

Rushby, Allison. The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery
July 24th 2018 by Candlewick Press
Personal copy

Flossie Birdwhistle died of rheumatic fever at the age of twelve, and became a Turnkey, or guardian, of Highgate Cemetery in London. She makes sure that the spirits of the people interred there are happy and at rest, and that the cemetery stays safe. As World War II starts affecting the city, she is on the alert, and seeing the ghost of an SS officer loose on the town has her worried. Her fear is warranted, and trips to a cemetery in Germany uncover the fact that this man  has a direct connection to her family and is pure evil. With the help of other spirits in other cemeteries throughout the city, she works on a way to fend off the German spirit attacks that are helping the war efforts of the living.
Strengths: This had some interesting information about London during World War II; I particularly enjoyed the decription of Churchhill's underground war rooms, which as absolutely fascinating to visit! This is a well constructed story that nicely balances the ghost aspect with the history. Flossie is a fascinating character who does her best despite being somewhat ill-prepared for such an important undertaking. Readers who enjoyed Stroud's The Screaming Staircase might find this an interesting, different take on ghosts in London.
Weaknesses: This may have the same illustrator as The Joy of Spooking, which I had to finally weed because no one would check it out. Also, I was confused that Flossie wore an iron ring. As a spirit, wouldn't that have harmed her? Have to admit, I didn't investigate that as I should have, but it seemed wrong.
What I really think: I liked this book, but may have trouble finding readers for it with this cover and the somewhat complicated history.
Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. Too bad because this looks like an interesting book. I was lucky enough to see the Churchill War Rooms back in 1997.
    Happy New Year!