Reviews for The ghostly photos

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Old photos of a boy in a coffin lead two young Ohio gumshoes into a web of secrets. A mystery involving a possibly haunted funeral home owned by a newly arrived family puts the nerves as well as the investigative skills of outgoing Nevaeh Greevey and shy, cerebral Colin Creedmont to the test in this sequel to The Secret Letters (2022). Not only does a complex tale dating back decades ultimately come to light in long-hidden letters, news stories, pictures, and keepsakes, but the plot features spooky rummaging through the funeral home’s cluttered attic and a graveyard visit. There’s also a familial connection, as the parents of both amateur sleuths run house-clearing operations—formerly as rivals with very different ideas of what constitutes “junk” and now in a contentious partnership. But since Haddix focuses largely on her protagonists’ thoughts, reactions, and attitudes in shaping the narrative, her tale has a distinctly introspective turn—particularly after Colin learns something about the father he’s never met. Readers seeking a meaty mystery solved by clues and deduction will find one, but it sometimes takes second fiddle to developments within and between members of a mostly white cast. The blended family that moves into the funeral home is implied to be multiracial. One elderly source of information exhibits clear signs of dementia, which the author discusses, along with funeral customs and other relevant topics, in a lengthy afterword. Sleuthing aplenty but more character- than conundrum-driven. (Mystery. 8-12) Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.