Monday, August 15, 2016

The Ministry of Ghosts by Alex Shearer

Welcome to Middle Grade Monday. Today I am looking at the novel, The Ministry of Ghosts, by Alex Shearer.

The Story-
The Ministry of Ghosts is a long, forgotten building on bric-a- brac street in London. Nobody every goes there and work is always the same. That is until Mr. Beeston from the Department of Economies decides that the Ministry should be shut down for lack of ghostly evidence in the last 100 years.

The staff decide they need to hire weekend persons to help them prove the existence of ghosts, or they'll end up working at the Department of the Sewers. Thruppence and Tim apply to their advertisement in the window and begin ghost hunting. They have three months to find proof of spirits, or the Ministry will be shut down forever.

My Thoughts-
This is a very unconventional book. The main characters are not introduced until mid way through  and the whole story is told by an omni-present narrator.

When I first started reading I was drawn into the story by the odd happenings at the Ministry of Ghosts. The four employees are all very detailed and have distinctive characteristics. The villain, Mr. Beeston, is also well-written, giving the reader a sense of immediate dislike for him and his bull headed ways. However, as I read on and on about their doings, I began to wonder where the story was going. I started to wonder if perhaps the Ministry itself was the protagonist. When Thruppence and Tim arrived I thought we were going to go places. Though the two of them are fun together, there is only one real adventure in a graveyard, and I wanted so much more.

Now, without giving the ending away, I was not satisfied. When they finally find their "evidence", I could only think, why wasn't there any more around? There should have been more "evidence" about, and why didn't they end up searching for more? Why not make the Ministry a fully running office?

So, I'm afraid I'm half and half with the story. It was fun, and I think most kids will be surprised at the ending, however I wanted more. On a side note, I learned from experience that the writing on the cover of the book glows in the dark! 3 stars!


  1. It's definitely different to have the protagonists show up half way through the story. I can see that possibly working with an omniscient narrator, but it sounds like there are other things that didn't work. However, I do like the cover and the premise is really intriguing! Thanks for a thoughtful review.

    1. Thank you! If you're intrigued you should give it a try. It is very different.

  2. I quite liked it, for all its unconventionality, though your comments are spot on. I think, in fact, it would have worked better as an adult fairy tale, especially for retired civil servants like myself!