The Ghouls of Howlfair


Molly Thompson  has always ‘known in her bones that the Excelsior Guesthouse [has] a sinister secret‘. However her copious research has resulted in a petition from the people of Howlfair and banishment from the library. She’s unearthed some secrets, like a town murder and plans for a housing subdivision to be built over a plague pit.

Howlfair prides itself on its ghoulish past, but these are things of fantasy to lure tourists only, aren’t they? Mr Evans laughs at the words in the newspaper suggesting that Howlfair ‘is spookier and more haunted than any other town on earth.‘ There’s a mayoral contest being run, with leading candidate Benton Furlock spending a fortune with promises to ‘make Howlfair scary again.’

A note hidden within the chapter of an Excelsior hotel guest’s latest book, suggests something decidedly sinister is at play. The note is solid evidence of Molly’s suspicions that the town is hiding a very shady past within its walls and crypt.  When the same guest is found dead, Molly is determined to unearth the truth. However, this will not be easy. The town is resistant, Felicity Quick is after Molly, Mrs de Ville assigns Molly to her street-cleaning crew, while Molly’s mother is wearied by her daughter’s seemingly half-baked, disastrous, backfiring probing. Then Molly finds herself in very dark, dangerous, ghoul-socketed territory…

The humour is dense and dark, and the story quick, gripping and convincing. I love determined, calamitous Molly and her (potentially) palm itching friend.  ‘The Ghouls of Howlfair’ is a fantastic, ice-gripping addition to Bookwagon. 



.The Ghouls of Howlfair

Nick Tomlinson

(Walker Books)

‘The Ghouls of Howlfair’ should attract visitors. However those who visit the historic horrors are unimpressed.
Meanwhile, Molly Thompson’s investigations into the history of the township are landing her in hot water. She is convinced evil forces hide  sinister goings on.  Thus far, she’s unearthed a 1937 murder, the true meaning of the town’s flag and motto, and plans for a new housing subdivision to be built on the site of an historic plague pit.
However Molly’s research steps up a notch when one of the guests in her family’s Excelsior Hotel dies unexpectedly. A letter falls from the chapter of her latest book, detailing how she is being tormented by ghouls. Could Molly be onto something? Why is Mrs Fullsway too terrified to stay in her own home? What is the story behind other suspicious deaths in the town? Furthermore, why does Benton Furlock seem so deviously determined to become Howlfair Mayor?  It seems as though wherever Molly Thompson looks there is chaos, upheaval and one eyed, blue-rimmed threats, not to mention a cat, like a shadow.
Despite many readers being keen to read scary books there are few as fluent, gripping, funny and enjoyable as ‘The Ghouls of Howlfair’. Like Will Mabbit’s Embassy of the Dead this title grips us immediately. While we may not be rushing to enjoy the attractions of Howlfair, whatever they may be, we might appreciate a Wetherill’s almanac, a visit to the town library, and a chance encounter with Gabriel.


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