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Fantasy Friday – The Lamp from the Warlock’s Tomb

The Lamp from the Warlock’s Tomb by John Bellairs


Review by Rebecca (rocky1)


Long before Harry Potter books were even dreamed up, another author dominated the genre of young people dealing with mysteries, ghosts, horror and the unknown-and his work was not only scary, but enough to captivate adults too! His name was John Bellairs.

The books that Bellairs penned had a common theme: they were set in the 1950s and dealt with young people (usually just starting high school) and their older counterparts (a neighbor, someone they worked with). The crux of the story was the adventures of the two as they uncovered the mysteries they unknowingly stumbled on to, usually something involving the occult, ghosts, or another world.

One such story involves Anthony Monday and his pal, Miss Eels, the local librarian he works with, in The Lamp from the Warlock’s Tomb. Miss Eels purchases an antique oil lamp from weird old Mrs. Grimshaw, who is very secretive about it. On their way back they notice a funny little man covered in cobwebs who nearly causes an accident, but think nothing more of it. After she lights the lamp at home, Miss Eels starts noticing strange things happening. Anthony asks to borrow the lamp for a school project-and shortly thereafter the high school watchman is murdered. Anthony tries to convince Miss Eels to stop using the lamp, but in an effort to prove there is nothing behind his superstitions, she takes it to the library and lights it there-and unwittingly sets free a spirit that should have stayed trapped away. Anthony and Miss Eels set out to return the lamp to Mrs. Grimshaw, who has summoned them for some odd reason, but when they arrive at her store, something weird and mysterious has happened. Can Miss Eels and Anthony solve the puzzle and return the spirit back to the underworld?

I remember my mother reading this to me when I was only seven or eight, and being scared out of my wits. Now, re-reading it again as an adult, I have to say-it is still scary! Although originally aimed at ages 9-12, they can easily capture the imaginations of any child or adult whose inner sleuth is looking for something not quite mainstream, but still exciting with just a hint of danger and lots of mystery involved.




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One Response to “Fantasy Friday – The Lamp from the Warlock’s Tomb”

  1. Karen (kalisa) says:

    I remember reading several other books by him, including “The House With a Clock In Its Walls”, back around 5th grade. I remember not being able to put it down and not wanting it to end. I think I may need to get may hands on these to read again. Thank you for reminding me of these!

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