Winnie Rudge is a writer with massive writers block. She flies out to visit her cousin John in London, England with the hopes that her trip will spark something in her to help her start writing again. When she arrives, John is no where to be found but there are contractors in his flat removing walls to build access to the roof. Winnie tries to find John but also has to deal with the contractors who are convinced the place is haunted. Hammering happens and nails trying to be removed retract back in to the wall. Perhaps this is the ghost of Winnie's great grandfather, whom Scrooge may or may not have been modeled after.
As I'm sure you can tell from the description, there's a lot going on in this book. Too much. Winnie and her writer's block, there's also obviously something about her past that she's hiding, where is John, is there a ghost in his apartment, and what's the story with her great grandfather. Maguire simply can't tackle all of these items and the story just falls apart because of it. Things that you think the book will focus on (the ghosts and the great grandfather) it doesn't, and then the book takes an odd turn and you wonder what you missed.
To add to all this, the characters are glossed over and it was hard to understand their attitudes. John was very rude to Winnie and it Winnie had an attitude problem as well. Maguire didn't give enough away at the beginning of the book to explain this which frustrated me and by the time I got to the end I didn't care enough.
If I hadn't heard such good things about Wicked, I don't think I'd ever pick up another Maguire book. I will give Wicked a try though and make my decision after that.
First Line: "Somebody else in the vehicle said the attorney-type into his cell phone."