A reluctant magician, his assistant, a princess in a castle, a ghost, an evil count, secret passages and a missing prince are the ingredients of this delicious little book by Avi. The king calls for the magician, Mangus, to help get rid of a ghost that is haunting his young daughter. Mangus' assistant, Fabrizio, helps solve this mystery by exploring the castle, meeting people, and reporting back to his master. Mangus uses his knowledge of human behavior to try and discover the truth behind the ghost before the princess has to marry the evil Count Scarazoni.
This story takes place in medieval Italy and gives the reader a good idea of what life in a big castle was like. The cover and fly leaves of the book are decorated in medieval style illustrations which attracted me to the book. I enjoyed following Fabrizio around the castle, in and out of secret passages, eavesdropping on, and meeting the other residents of the castle. The ending was not a terrific surprise but I loved following the plot to the end.
A combination of historical fiction and mystery, this book would amuse someone looking for a quick read.
My rating for this book: +++