The Spectre from the Magician’s Museum by John Bellairs and Brad Strickland
Lewis and Rosa Rita are forced to perform in the annual talent show. After a brief discussion they decide to do a “magic” show for their performance and Uncle Jonathan suggests they talk to one of his friends Robert Hardwick who can help them learn some tricks. Lewis and Rosa Rita visit Robert’s museum to borrow some books to learn some tricks. While there Rosa Rita gets a papercut that unleashes what turns out to be a fetch. While the talent show does not go as planned, Rosa Rita starts to change. Lewis is concerned and after sharing his concerns with Uncle Jonathan and Mrs. Zimmermann they realize what is happening. Lewis “spies” on Rosa Rita while they are together until Mrs. Zimmermann can figure out the spell and what might be done to break it. Once Rosa Rita is captured by the fetch the three of them are under a time pressure to save her. The true magic of this series is the friendship between these 4 people.
Character List/Book Summary:
Lewis – 13 year old clumsy and heavy, decides on a magic act for the talent show. Worried about Rosa Rita being withdrawn. Perfectionist about the magic tricks he will perform. Pays attention to Rosa Rita at the cemetery to report back to Uncle Jonathan and Mrs. Zimmermann.
Rosa Rita – tall for her age, thinks of herself as an ugly ducking. Other girls make fun of her. Not sleeping well while she has Belle’s scroll. Becomes withdrawn after the talent show did not go well.
Jonathan – a good wizard, Lewis’s uncle. Helps Lewis prepare props for a magic show. After listening to Lewis he thinks Rosa Rita is under a spell/fetch.
Mrs. Zimmermann – a good witch, loves purple. Makes costumes for Lewis and Rosa Rita’s magic act. Explains what a fetch is to Lewis and helps figure out the spell to open the tomb to save Rosa Rita.
Belle Frisson – real name as far as people can tell is Elizabeth Proctor. Actress who put together a poltergeist act on Egyptian sorcery from 1855-1878 when she died from a train accident. She died on Halloween and bought the farm she was hurt on and had people come and build a special tomb there. Anyone who could not afford to be burried elsewhere or any magicians could be burried there
Robert Hardwick – retired newspaper man and amateur conjuror. Runs and owns The National Museum of Magic. Tidies graves of magicians in the cemetery Belle created.
Ellen – Robert’s wife, tells Lewis the story of how Belle died and the cemetery is for people who could not afford to be burried elsewhere and magicians.
Clarence Mussenberger – Creamy the Magical Clown on TV, and one of Robert’s poker partners
Thomas Perkins – Lord Puzzlewit, does card tricks, and one of Robert’s poker partners
Johnny Stone – Bondini, escape artists, and one of Robert’s poker partners
Dr. David Walsh – local archaeologists who specialized in the history and lore of Egypt
Chad Britton – wants to be a detective and practices following people around. Lewis promises to tell Chad about Rosa Rita if he stops following him.
Chris Walsh – 10 years old, David’s son, Lewis asks him if he can borrow one or two of his dad’s books on Egyptian Magic.