By Arthur Slade
The Canadian Chills series, originally published by Coteau Books, combines Arthur Slade’s comic genius and his ability to make your heart freeze with terror. Each story is chock full of mystery and surprises and set in a strange Canadian setting. And at the centre of these tales are dynamic, smart characters who aren’t afraid of a little adventure, whether that adventure includes ghosts, aliens, or Sasquatches.
Book 1: Return of the Grudstone Ghosts
When Daphne’s sixth-grade teacher, Miss Vindez, plummets from the belfry of St. Wolcott School, Daphne and her friends Nick and Peach are plunged into a mystery that includes a long-ago fire that left behind twelve dead schoolchildren, tiny ghosts with nowhere to go, and an ancient evil just dying to break through into modern-day Moose Jaw.
Miss Vindez survives her fall, but things just aren’t the same–she’s spouting gibberish, and both Principal Peterka and the school janitor are definitely not themselves at all any more.
Determined to get to the bottom of what’s going on, Daphne, Nick, and Peach dig up the troubled history of Grudstone, the school that used to stand where St. Wolcott is now. They uncover evidence of a crime so terrible it can hardly be believed. Worse, the terrifying perpetrator of that crime isn’t done yet–he has more horrible plans in mind. And all that stands in his way are three Moose Jaw school kids.
Book 2: Ghost Hotel
Walter Biggar Bronson (a.k.a. Wart), and his friend Cindy meet a ghost one night after school. The small, mournful boy leads them across the Broadway Bridge to the gracious Bessborough Hotel. After a strange incident in the elevator, they find themselves still in the hotel–but back in 1936. Some spooky things are going on. The room numbers are all mixed up. The library on the mezzanine is filled with hundreds of copies of the same book. And out on the street, the cars are all the same–vintage Studebakers. Back in the present, Wart and Cindy follow their motto–“Gather, identify, solve”–until they crack the case, with help from Wart’s distinctly odd parents, and the loan of his mother’s time-travel-proof cell phone.
For all the humour in Slade’s gentle spoof of the detective genre (“A good detective always knows what time it is”), there is a serious ghost story here. Young Archie Tortle, drowned along with his parents in 1936, has not been able to accept his death. He has created his own world in the hotel, where everything serves his needs. Only Wart and Cindy can help him come to terms with his loss and stop him haunting the hotel.
Book 3: Invasion of the IQ Snatchers
Gordon Whillickers and his friend Sophia are the only ones who can stop a sinister plot to steal the brain power of the people of Nanaimo.
Someone is delivering plates of scrumptious Nanaimo bars to every household in Nanaimo, and the people who eat them are behaving very strangely. Gordon Whillickers doesn’t get to eat his because at the last minute a hairy arm reaches through his window and steals them. He and Sophia chase after the thief and meet an amazing Sasquatch named Cheryl, who is also puzzled by the sudden appearance of the mouth-watering delicacies.
With the help of Cheryl and the technological wizardry of a local librarian, the two kids move ever closer to the alien creature at the centre of the plot. They must stop him before the Nanaimoites’ IQs are lost forever.
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