Book Review – Dial A Ghost by Eva Ibbotson
Audiobook Duration 04:15:15
Narrator: Susan Jameson
Dial A Ghost by Eva Ibbotson is, in a nutshell, a wonderful story about orphans, ghosts, an inheritance, and awful relations. This audio version was adeptly narrated by Susan James, whose superb character inflection deepened my enjoyment of this lovely read.
I appreciate that this book was written some time ago, that notwithstanding, the opening of Dial A Ghost is one of the most engaging I’ve read in recent years. I won’t give any hint away as to the beginning or in fact any little pointer; it would be unfair to take away the joy of reading it for yourself. But the realism and pathos is outstanding.
The Dial-a-Ghost Agency finds good homes for ghosts. And Fulton and Frieda Snodde-Brittle are looking for a few frightening ghosts to “accidentally” scare their young cousin and heir, Oliver, to death. The ladies at the Dial-a-Ghost Agency have the perfect match: the Shriekers, two bloodstained and bickering horrors. But thanks to a mix-up at the agency, the Wilkinsons, a kind family of ghosts, arrive instead. Can they put a stop to the Snodde-Brittles’ schemes before it’s too late? Goodreads
Ghosts for hire makes perfect sense. It is as if it’s automatically known and accepted. The book sets it up in such a matter of fact way that it’s eminently believable that such things are par for the course: ghosts exist and their need for shelter doesn’t end with death. Professional help in the form of the Dial A of Ghost Agency which is an estate agent cum work placement solves this requirement for ghosts in need.
What else is wonderful
The plot is funny and perceptive a twist on the established tale of orphans and their terrible life before it all comes up roses at the end. It reminds me in a fleeting way of the A Series of Unfortunate Events series books, but it is entirely its own creation. There is also the parallel story of the Wilkinsons family of ghosts looking for a home and trying to keep their family’s way of life intact.
What saves this from perfunctory, or samey are the characters. They are warm, well written and leap off the page in their three-dimensionality. There are no trite villains or insipid young people here. We find out that family comes in all forms and compositions, in fact, it is what you make it.
Thoroughly good read, fun, funny and vibrant.
4 Stars – Really Liked It