Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-68119-932-0 $16.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-68119-933-7 $11.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 3-5
Maudlin Towers School for the Not Particularly Bright Sons of the Not Especially Wealthy is not only gloomy and bleak, it’s also frightfully dull—until the physics teacher dies under mysterious circumstances, a small Viking is spotted on the lawn, the revered School Spoon goes missing, a ghostly woman is heard wailing in a room, and the history teacher starts acting bonkers. Avid reader of detective stories Mildew and his bumbling pal Sponge decide to do some sleuthing to get to the bottom of the excitement, but they only find more strangeness when they come across a time machine and possible evidence of a werewolf. It’s all good campy fun, and Priestley plays his hand deftly, slowing the pace to keep the comedy of errors from going too far off the rails while keeping the goofiness in high supply. There’s a definite wink and nod element to the humor, with Mildew as the cocky but clueless detective and Sponge as the underestimated (even by himself) co-hero. Black and white illustrations, with scribbly lines and exaggerated figures, add to the offbeat humor.