I have read only a few of the many mystery novels for younger readers by this author, who also wrote mysteries for adults with a gothic flavor. The ones I have read I’ve liked, including this one.
Janey Oakes narrates her story, and confess right up front that she has a disease: horse fever. She loves them, and wants to ride them. When Janey and her parents stay with Janey’s Aunt Viv for the summer in Sussex County, New Jersey, she’s hoping there will be horses nearby. As it happens, they find one right away, but the owners are stand-offish and strange. Later, Janey learns the Burleys, or something on their side of the lake where Aunt Viv lives, have been causing lots of anger among the other residents. A ghostly dog surrounded by red flames has been seen from the Burley’s side and is keeping everyone awake with its haunting howls.
Janey is determined to befriend the Burleys and get a chance to ride their horse, Star of Sussex, but they don’t make it easy. There’s an elderly grandmother and two boys, all of whom seem to be angry and suspicious, or even a bit crazy. It seems to solve the Burley mystery, Janey will have to discover the secret of the ghost dog, leading to frightening midnight expeditions.
A fun read that kept me guessing for a long while, aimed at girls with horse fever, but written well enough for anyone to enjoy. Recommended. No reasonable Amazon link found.