Cinnamon Stevens – Ghost Light, Pauline Hosking (author), Lilly Pilly Publishing, 2018.
Welcome to Cinnamon’s second adventure. Her first was Cinnamon Stevens – Crime Buster.
A haunted theatre?
A smashed-up grave?
Twelve year old sleuth Cinnamon is ready to solve these spooky mysteries.
Or is she?
Cinnamon Stevens; an intriguing character with her own complexities. A twelve year old girl with an immense curiosity for a good mystery case, yet harbouring some inhibitions just like any young tween. She tackles relationships with a mix of confidence and uncertainty all at the same time. This includes being one in a triangle of close friends, and her connections with boys. The story deals with issues on bullying and racism in amongst the other themes of friendship, pre-adolescent romance, and of course, crime and solving the mystery.
In Ghost Light, Cinnamon and her friends, Meera and Cossie (a young budding stage actress), are inspired by an upcoming play based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth to find a mysterious ghost in the Ambassador Theatre. Throughout the story, the girls believe it to be the late national sweetheart and actress, Adelaide Glendenning; founder of the original heritage theatre. It just so happens that a school camp is planned, and Cinnamon is able to convince her teacher to visit Walhalla, Gippsland; a gold mining site and the home town and resting place of Adelaide herself. Now she will get the chance to dig up some information on the famous star.
Plenty of ghostly shenanigans emerge from the case, mostly coincidental as the story unfolds. A shattered tombstone, a head-splitting injury, and a few haunting occurrences prod Cinnamon and her girlfriends to investigate the links between the gravesite and the destruction of the theatre. All in the name of publicity!
Pauline Hosking writes this story with energy and a pre-teen voice. The format is set out in diary style, separated by dates and interspersed with text messages and stuck-down notes. A few more graphics and perhaps lined pages could have given the diary-look more authenticity given the heavy text, dialogue and detail.
Ghost Light is a blend of topical issues, Australian history and a series of incidentals to piece together, perfect for upper primary students who love a bit of excitement and suspense.
Review by Romi Sharp.