John escott – the ghost of genny castle

Introduction

Claire looked across the fields and saw a tall stone building. ‘An old castle!’ she said. ‘I must go and see that before I go home again.’
Aunt Min didn’t look at the castle. ‘It – it’s not a nice place to visit,’ she said. ‘Genny Castle is dangerous.’
‘Dangerous?’ said Claire. ‘Why?’
When Claire’s mother and father go away for Christmas, Claire goes to stay with her Aunt Min. Aunt Min lives in the village of Little Genny and near it is an old castle. Claire is very interested in the castle and she wants to know more about it. But the people in the village are afraid of Genny Castle and they won’t talk to her about it. Accidents happen there. People die. . .
Aunt Min says she must stay away, but Claire knows she can’t. She must find answers. And soon, she will. Because in the castle something is waiting. And it knows her.
John Escott writes books for students and young people. He was born in a small country town in Somerset, in the south-west of England. Now he lives in Bournemouth, by the sea. He is married and has two children. When he is not writing, he likes walking and he plays music.
He wrote The Ghost of Genny Castle after he saw a real old dark castle: Corfe Castle in Dorset, England. This is near his home town. Corfe Castle is nearly one thousand years old and people there tell a lot of stories about it.
You can also read Detective Work and Money to Burn by John Escott in Penguin Readers.

Chapter 1 The Castle

It was a cold December afternoon. Walter Burge was outside his cottage when he saw the car in the road, across the fields. It was Minnie Dawe’s car.
‘Who’s she taking home?’ thought Walter. ‘A visitor?’
Walter didn’t like visitors. ‘Stay away from the castle,’ he told them when they came in the summer. Sometimes they didn’t listen to him. But this was winter, when not many people came.
He watched the car for a minute or two, then he went back to his work..

An orange cat was outside the cottage. It was the colour of fire. It too watched the car. Then it walked slowly across the field at the back of the cottage and up to Genny Castle.

Claire looked out of the window of the little car.
‘Is it far to your cottage, Aunt Min?’ she asked.
‘About six miles,’ said her aunt.
The village of Little Genny was behind them now, and snow began to fall from the grey December sky. Claire thought about Christmas. ‘It’s going to be nice here with Aunt Min,’ she thought.
‘The last time I saw you was ten years ago,’ said Aunt Min.
‘I was only five years old then,’ said Claire with a laugh.
‘And now you’re as tall as me,’ said Aunt Min. She was tall and thin with grey hair. ‘Where did your mother and father go? I can’t remember.’
‘New Zealand,’ said Claire. ‘They went because of Dad’s job, and they’re coming back in January.’
Aunt Min smiled. ‘And you’re going to be with me in my little cottage for Christmas,’ she said.
Claire smiled back, then she looked across the fields and saw a tall stone building.
‘An old castle!’ she said. ‘I must go and see that before I go home again.’
Aunt Min didn’t look at the castle. ‘It – it’s not a nice place to visit,’ she said. ‘Genny Castle is dangerous.’
‘Dangerous?’ said Claire. ‘Why?’
Aunt Min didn’t answer. She looked across the field at the old building and said, ‘Stones are always falling from the walls and towers.’
Claire looked at her aunt. ‘There’s something Aunt Min isn’t telling me,’ she thought. ‘What is it? Does the castle have a secret?’

When Claire got up the next morning the sun was in the sky.



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John escott – the ghost of genny castle