The Screaming Staircase

Jonathan Stroud, read by Miranda Raison. Listening Library, unabridged, eight CDs, 10 hrs., $50 ISBN 978-0-8041-2314-3

Stroud’s first entry in his new Lockwood & Co. series begins with all manner of spirits and ghosts haunting London. To address what becomes known as “the Problem,” young Lucy Carlyle, Anthony Lockwood, and George Cubbins must rid England of its otherworldly visitors using their ability to perceive spirits. Stroud’s novel comes to life thanks to the narration of Raison. Her performance is reserved, but this proves a wise choice for such an outrageous story, with the narrator employing slight shifts in tone and style to create realistic and believable character voices. This straightforward approach makes the audio edition all the more immediate and thrilling. Ages 8–12. A Disney-Hyperion hardcover. (Sept.)