cover image Midnight at the Barclay Hotel

Midnight at the Barclay Hotel

Fleur Bradley, illus. by Xavier Bonet. Viking, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-20290-6

When 12-year-old JJ Jacobson’s CEO mom wins a weekend at the haunted Barclay Hotel in Aspen Springs, Colo., paranormal investigation enthusiast JJ convinces her to bring him along. The Jacobsons seemingly have nothing in common with the other guests: cowboy Buck Jones; Fiona Fleming, an actress and occasional medium; retired Detective Frank Walker; and children’s librarian Chelsea Griffin. But, save for Detective Walker, each of the guests has a Barclay-related secret—and, as they learn upon their arrival, all are suspects in the murder of Mr. Barclay. Detective Walker’s 11-year-old book-loving granddaughter, Penny, and lonely 12-year-old hotel resident Emma, who is prone to mysterious disappearances, team up with JJ to discover “who had motive, means, and opportunity,” while JJ simultaneously attempts to prove the existence of ghosts to skeptic Penny. Bonet’s black-and-white illustrations are appropriately mellow; all characters are portrayed as light-skinned except for Penny and her grandfather. Though readers already exposed to the genre may consider this well-trod ground, Bradley (the Double Vision series) offers a fast-paced, lightly spooky entrée to mystery fare. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. [em]Author’s agent: Laurel Symonds, the Bent Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Hannah Whitty, Plum Pudding Illustration. (Aug.) [/em]