The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud

The Whispering Skull continues smoothly from the first book: the Lockwood and Co crew will have a new assignment to solve, rivals to beat, confront the reality that the The Problem is escalating in unexpected ways, and learn more about Anthony Lockwood’s family secrets.

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Story: Lucy, Lockwood, and George are dismayed to learn they must solve a case with the assistance of Quill Kipps and his eccentric team from Fittes. The investigation involves a Victorian doctor who robbed graveyards in order to plumb the mysteries of life after death. When his corpse is unearthed and then subsequently robbed, both teams will watch the situation reverberate through all levels of society. It will take all their luck and guile to not only solve the case but also to survive it.

Once again, we have a very engaging story that is never straightforward or easy.  Our characters grow and learn about themselves and others, and along the way there is plenty of action. Stroud does an excellent job of dropping just enough hints and mysteries to be intrigued but never so much that we have nothing left to discover.  Actions by the characters make sense (both what they do right and what they do wrong) and each person who shows up in the book has a very distinct and unique personality.

As with the first book, at the end of The Whispering Skull we are left with tantalizing hints of the story to come. The plot builds organically yet unexpectedly and the book-length story arcs fit seamlessly into a series-long set of mysteries. From the clues, it looks like Stroud will eventually tackle the root of The Problem and we’ll learn what started it and now escalated the return of The Visitors. It will be interesting to see if George’s skull will be at the heart of the mystery.

In all, greatly looking forward to the next book in the series.

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