The Doom of the Haunted Opera
When Lewis Barnavelt and Rose Rita Pottinger explore an old, abandoned theater, they find an unpublished opera score. Disregarding the warning of the ghost, they bring the sheet music to school, where The Day of Doom
is heralded as a masterpiece. Then Henry Vanderhelm, the composer's grandson, arrives and manipulates the town into putting on a performance of the opera. Only Vanderhelm knows that when the opera is played, the dead will awaken...to help Henry Vanderhelm enslave the world! Will Lewis and Rose Rita stop the performance -- or watch the curtain rise on the undead?
"...the prose has the same casual elegance, the pacing has just the right amount of tension." - Evan Hunt, Notes From the Windowsill
About the Book
This is the sixth book in the Lewis Barnavelt series. It is the fourth and final book "completed" by Brad Strickland.
Strickland says he still gets "occasional fan letters asking [him] to write about the further adventures of Jailbird", Jonathan's whistling cat .
On page 146 it reads “...the magicians had scrambled up out of the orchestra pit and dashed out past Lewis and Rose Rita.” Shouldn’t that be musicians? Yes, there are magicians in this scene but they weren’t down in the orchestra pit and don’t dash out past Lewis and Rose Rita. "Proofreading failure, pure and simple," says Strickland. "Musicians it is supposed to be. No matter how hard one tries, one or two creep through. (There's something fishy about the bikes in the cemetery scene...that resulted from editorial transposition of paragraphs, for instance.)"
When at last he did fall asleep, he had a strange dream. He and Rose Rita were walking up the stairs again, but this time the lights were all on and a crowd was jostling them. The men wore black tailcoats and white ties, and they all carried top hats. The women wore long white gowns, beautiful necklaces of diamonds and pearls, and fur stoles around their shoulders.
Somehow Lewis and Rose Rita found themselves in the auditorium, which looked rich and elegant in the warm glow of a sparkling glass chandelier. A red velvet curtain with gold fringe hid the stage, and mournful music rose from the orchestra pit. This music summoned Lewis, and he plodded forward like a sleepwalker until he could look down into the pit.
The light gleamed off brass horns, dark woodwinds, and satiny violins that were lying on chairs or leaning against them. The grand piano was gone, and in its place stood an imposing organ. A man sat in front of it, his long, spidery fingers flying over the keys as he played the mysterious music. Slowly his head turned. For a moment Lewis was afraid he would see the dead face of the ghost again, but this was a different person, although he was as cadaverous as the ghost had been. He grinned at them. "Check your heads at the hatcheck counter!" he called pleasantly. "We'll have no whistling cats here. This is Art!"
As he laughed at his own words, a cloud of black flying things whirled out of his opened mouth. At first Lewis thought they were flies, but they grew larger and larger until they were bats, and they came flapping and squeaking right at him!
He and Rose Rita turned and ran up the aisle, but it was full of people now, who were shambling forward blindly. Lewis blinked hard. They were all headless! The men's collars ended with nothing above them. The bejeweled necks of the women were cut off above the pearls and diamonds. Rose Rita screamed.