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The Séance

Cover of The Séance

The Séance

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SCOOTER KING UNDERSTANDS illusions. In the midst of the Roaring Twenties, he performs them behind the scenes at his mother's séances, giving the impression that Madam King communicates with the dead. Scooter also admires Harry Houdini and can hardly wait to see the famed magician escape from his razzle-dazzle Burmese Torture Tank. But when Scooter stumbles upon a dead body in the visiting Houdini's tank, it's no illusion. Who could the murderer be? And did he--or she--kill the right person?

As Scooter sets out to unmask the killer, the mysterious worlds of mediums, séances, and magic are revealed. No one is above suspicion, and appearances are deceiving. If Scooter doesn't sort out the clues--and fast--he may end up as the next dead body.

From the Hardcover edition.
SCOOTER KING UNDERSTANDS illusions. In the midst of the Roaring Twenties, he performs them behind the scenes at his mother's séances, giving the impression that Madam King communicates with the dead. Scooter also admires Harry Houdini and can hardly wait to see the famed magician escape from his razzle-dazzle Burmese Torture Tank. But when Scooter stumbles upon a dead body in the visiting Houdini's tank, it's no illusion. Who could the murderer be? And did he--or she--kill the right person?

As Scooter sets out to unmask the killer, the mysterious worlds of mediums, séances, and magic are revealed. No one is above suspicion, and appearances are deceiving. If Scooter doesn't sort out the clues--and fast--he may end up as the next dead body.

From the Hardcover edition.
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Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    1
  • Library copies:
    1
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    4.4
  • Lexile:
    650
  • Interest Level:
    LG
  • Reading Level:
    3 - 6

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One ADMIRAL BYRD CIRCLES NORTH POLE
    FLAGPOLE SITTER TOPS FIFTEEN DAYS
    SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN TESTS
    LOCAL MEDIUM

    At five minutes to midnight, a stranger arrived for the seance. He came out of the hot summer darkness and tapped three times on the door.
    The sitters were at their places, all four around the table. My mother was dressing in her bedroom. So I was the one who answered the knock. Scooter King, thirteen, I saw the Stranger in.
    He was standing under the porch light, like a big moth in a rumpled overcoat, holding his hat and a bamboo cane. His hair was silver, his mustache gray, his spectacles thick and round. Behind the lenses of those cheaters, his eyes were almost yellow.
    He spoke in a soft and mumbly voice. "I'm not too late, I hope. For the sitting, I mean." From the bowl of his hat he pulled out a scrap of newspaper. He showed me the advertisement that he'd circled in black.
    "This is the proper place, isn't it?" asked the Stranger.
    "Sure. Come in," I said.
    The guy was a chump. He tried to take off his coat without putting down his cane, so he got himself in such a tangle that I had to unhook him from his own clothes. Then he gave me his things, and I led him into the tiny room that my mother called the vestibule but was really a closet with the shelves ripped out. Inside was a lamp, a wicker chair, and a spindly table that would shake if someone looked at it too hard. Piled on the tabletop were a stack of books, a candle and matches, and an ashtray shaped like a turtle. Under all that stuff, the table looked more crowded than Noah's ark, but the widgets were there for a reason.
    "Madam King is waiting," I said. "If you could write out a question for the spirits, I-"
    "That's not necessary," said the Stranger. He patted his mustache, smoothing its ends. "I have only one wish, and that's to hear from my poor Annie."
    "Of course." I turned away and dumped the Stranger's stuff on the chair. His eyes had changed color in the lamplight, reflecting the red from the roses that sprawled on the wallpaper. It gave me the heebie-jeebies to look at them. "Please follow me," I said.
    We went down the hall and into the seance room. Mr. Stevenson twisted round in his chair to squint at us over his narrow bifocals. That week he'd turned seventy-one. He had been a drummer boy in the Civil War; he had met President Lincoln. But he was still the youngest at the table. If their ages had been added together, it would have been more than three hundred years. After every seance, I had to open the windows to blow out the old-people smell.
    I got a chair for the Stranger and sat him at the end of the table. Of course I made sure that his back was toward the huge wardrobe that stood against the wall. Mr. Stevenson leaned forward and shouted at him, "Are you a believer, sir?"
    "I believe what I see," said the Stranger.
    "Well, see this," said Mr. Stevenson, bristling like a porcupine. But his wife calmed him down. She patted his hand and told the Stranger, "Henry's hoping to contact Paul Revere tonight. You see, Henry's a bug about Paul Revere, and-"
    "I'm not a bug," said Mr. Stevenson. "I'm interested."
    "Oh, he only knows more about Paul Revere than anyone alive." Mrs. Stevenson smiled at her husband. "He's frightened that a nonbeliever might block the spirits. They do that, you know."
    "I assure you, I will block no spirits," said the Stranger.
    I left them at the table, went out, and shut the door. Then I sprinted down the hall to the vestibule and snatched the Stranger's hat from the chair.
    The sweatband was still warm. I peeled it away with my thumb, bending it back to look for a name underneath. When I found it, I smiled. The...
About the Author-
  • Iain Lawrence is the author of numerous acclaimed novels for young people. He lives on Gabriola Island, British Columbia.


    From the Hardcover edition.
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    Random House Children's Books
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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