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The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co., Book 1)

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about the book

screaming staircase


“The Problem” began about fifty years ago. England always had its fair share of ghosts, but most of them were mild spirits. Suddenly, there seemed to be far more hauntings, and these malevolent visitors are not the kindly specters of the past. Their touch is deadly!

Agencies sprang up all over England, competing to rid each cottage and castle of the ghosts. The Department of Physic Research Control monitors The Problem, and it finds that only teens with rare psychic abilities can sense the ghosts. The smallest of these businesses is the Psychic Detection Agency, and after a series of bungled cases, the company is close to failing.

To remain solvent, the agency is forced to take on the worst haunting of all. The violent spirits of brooding Combe Carey Hall have already left several experienced ghost-hunters dead. Now it is up to the Physic Detectives headed by charismatic Anthony Lockwood, a brilliant swordsman. He is backed up by snarky Lucy Carlyle, a talented and smart girl who is new to the agency. The third member of their team is exasperating George Cubbins, a hilariously studious kid who is more than a little neglectful about his personal hygiene.

Can they survive a whole night in the most haunted building in England? They learn that Mr. Hope tumbled down the stairs and broke his neck. Did he fall? Was he pushed? To succeed, they have to learn why he is haunting the Screaming Stairs. The trio can dispatch the supernatural ghosties using lavender, bright lights, running water, silver, iron chains, magnesium flares, and salt bombs. Hopefully they will have no problem!

But how will they neutralize the worst threat of all…the human threat?


about the author

jonathan stroud

Jonathan Stroud was born in Bedford, England, but grew up in St. Albans, near London. Early on, he enjoyed drawing and writing equally well. He wrote his first rip-roaring adventure when he was just seven. It featured nasty robbers, stolen loot, castle ruins, and secret passageways. His dad had to help him glue the pages together. Needless to say, it was “self-published!”

A sickly child, Jonathan spent much of his time in the hospital. To escape boredom, he became a voracious reader and writer. While his classmates struggled to fill a page with a story, his tales went on and on until his teacher ran out of paper. During this time, Jonathon experimented with all sorts of writing, including comics, poems, and plays. Between the ages of eleven and fourteen, he created several sophisticated game books.

He went on to study English Literature at the University of York, but after graduation still wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. He got an editorial job in London, where he learned a lot about children’s books. He was also writing during this time. At the age of 23, he published his first word puzzle book and at the age of 28, he sold his first novel.

Every morning, Jonathan grabs his cup of tea and goes up to his studio. He knows it has been a good writing day when, at the end of the day, he has at least five completed pages…and the tea cup is still full with cold untouched tea.

Author website
Author interview : by Rick Riordan
Author video interview: Random House
Book trailer: The Screaming Staircase

Also by Jonathan Stroud:
The Hollow Boy (Lockwood & Co., Book 3). Disney-Hyperion. September 2015.
The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co., Book 2). Disney-Hyperion. 2014.
The Ring of Solomon (Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 4). Hyperion Books for Children. 2010.
Ptolemy’s Gate (Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 3). Hyperion Books for Children. 2006.
The Last Siege. Miramax Books. 2006.
The Golem’s Eye (Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 2). Hyperion Books for Children. 2004.
The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus Trilogy, Book 1). Hyperion Books for Children. 2003.


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Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke
Jon is not happy about being sent off to boarding school, especially after he finds out the school is haunted…amd becomes the target of the ghosts of Lord Stourton and his four dead servants. With the help of new friend Ella, Jon summons the ghost of Sir William Longspee, who may be able give some sort of protection. But will this unlikely trio be able to discover why the murderous ghost is threatening to harm Jon in the first place?




The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co., Book 2) by Jonathan Stroud
Lockwood & Co. has been hired to dispatch an unruly cemetery ghost and that means they have to exhume a doctor who, before he died, tried to communicate with the dead. Distracted by whispers coming from the skull in a ghost jar, Lucy finds herself deep in the middle of cults and collectors, and on the hunt for a mirror which can cause madness! Can the sinister artifacts she uncovers expose the cause of Britain’s ghost “Problem”?