Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery - a review

The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery
By Allison Rushby
Candlewick Press,  2018

Despite her young age, Flossie Birdwhistle is the Turnkey of London's Highgate Cemetery.  Having died herself of rheumatic fever at the age of 12, Flossie is now in charge of the well-being of all the souls interred at Highgate.  This alone can be a daunting job, however, when Flossie discovers a mysterious man who is neither of the living nor the spirit world, her job becomes more difficult. Now she must consider the concerns of the living and the very fate of England in WW II,

"Flossie simply couldn't work it out.  Who was this man?  What was he doing in London? And why had he run away like that?

Maybe if she described him, one of the newly interred at Ada's cemetery might know of him.  He was obviously an officer of great importance. Perhaps he had been in the newspapers."
In a story that is more mysterious than horrific, Flossie rallies allies from the ranks of the dead to combat a threat to the living. The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery is a genre-bending mix of middle-grade historical fiction, thriller, and ghost story. Turnkey should appeal to a wide variety of readers.  Only the extremely timid will find it disturbing; most will enjoy this unusual tale of ghostly heroism in time of war.

Coming this summer to a shelf near you.

Highgate Cemetery in London is on the Registry of Historic Parks and Gardens. Click the links to learn more about it.
Highgate Cemetery East

My copy of The Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery was provided by the publisher at my request.


  1. Hadn't seen this one (nor heard it!)and I'm interested. You can learn an awful lot of history from cemetaries, both real and imagined. Thanks for posting this!

    1. I love historical fiction, and the ghost story aspect adds interest. Avi's Seer of Shadows and Cat Winters' YA novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds are really great examples of ghostly historical fiction.


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