Nick Tomlinson, The Ghouls of Howlfair

Walker, 2019, ISBN 978-1-4063-8668-4

The town of Howlfair is famous for its legends of ghosts and ghouls, and its tourist trade depends on them. Most of the residents don't take the tales seriously, but one certainly does, twelve year-old Molly Thompson. She is sure that the strange and disturbing goings on in the town and the terror that seems to be haunting several locals are connected to its scary history, and she is determined to get to the bottom of things. Her investigations have already revealed a number of uncomfortable secrets, making her so unpopular that there's a petition to put an end to her meddling. She has two friends who support her, Lowry, who fears that her family has links with werewolves, and her faithful cat, who gets into almost as many scrapes as she does. When Benton Furlock stands for election as mayor on a platform to make Howlfair frightening again, sinister events multiply. But not even her mother believes Molly when she tries to explain what she has discovered. In fact she locks her up to put a stop to her dangerous activities. Furlock's clandestine plans to turn the town into his own terrifying fiefdom, ruled by fear and kept in order by ghouls, look all too likely to turn into reality. Is there anything Molly can do to prevent him gaining power?

This is an enjoyably spooky middle-grade novel, with interesting characters, an imaginative plotline - though some readers may be deterred by its length - and some appealing humour.