cover image Under the Mummy's Spell

Under the Mummy's Spell

Kate McMullan. Farrar Straus Giroux, $16 (214pp) ISBN 978-0-374-38033-5

Peter Harring has earned the dubious title Harring the Daring by taking up every gauntlet thrown his way, no matter how ill conceived. So when his best friend, Rodent, challenges him to touch a mummy at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Peter goes one step further and gives it a kiss. Is he simply proving his bravado, or could he be fulfilling a role in a drama conceived 3000 years ago by an Egyptian pharaoh, bereaved father of Princess Nephia, the girl whose remains are in the casket? Peter finds himself charged with the mysterious mission to ``bring back the treasure of Nephia's soul'' and endowed with a supernatural dog to aid him; soon after, his family inherits a spooky Manhattan townhouse. Neatly balancing humor and suspense, McMullan (author of the Lila Fenwick books) intercuts Peter's quest with scenes from ancient Egypt involving Nephia, the pharaoh and an evil aunt proficient in the occult arts. Inventive plotting and comfortably eccentric characters help McMullan cast a spell of her own. Ages 10-up. (June)