Moody and withdrawn when his family moves to an English estate, a thirteen-year-old improves his disposition after contact with the two-hundred-year-old ghost of a French lieutenant.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
Once the 18th-century French Lieutenant's ghost finally puts in an appearance, his ambiguously misty presence might activate a few shivers, but not enough to animate this stilted and old-fashioned story about a British family that moves to the country after the engineer father invents some sort of lucrative industrial device (he works by "hunches"). Mr. Bostock, "always a happy man because of his inventive genius as an engineer," is "delighted" with running the farm and his wife "by some marvelous means known only to women, especially if they are good wives and mothers, (makes) the great kitchen comes to life again." Even eight-year-old Tyke is enchanted with his new piglet, and the only misfit is Robert, 13, who is sullen at home, unhappy at school (where he is called a "cad" for hitting below the belt in a boxing match he's forced into without knowing the rules), and annoyed by legends of the ghost once imprisoned in the nearby castle and hanged by his fellow French officers. Then Robert kills his brother's pig, telling the family it ran away, and is pursued by the eerie imperative (uttered by the ghost or by Robert's crafty sister?) to "bury my bones." Anyway, Robert does bury the pig, which somehow lays to rest both the ghost and his own general resentment. Little Tyke is pacified with a new corgi and Robert, we're sure, will now go on to make something of himself. (Kirkus Reviews)