The Mysterious Mummer


192 pages
ISBN 1-55337-377-4
DDC jC813'.6






Reviewed by R. Gordon Moyles

R. Gordon Moyles is professor emeritus of English at the University of
Alberta, co-author of Imperial Dreams and Colonial Realities: British
Views of Canada, 1880–1914, and author of The Salvation Army and the


Sent to spend Christmas with his aunt in a remote Newfoundland outport,
13-year-old Joey McDermot doesn’t relish the idea and is especially
chagrined to find his once-adorable Aunt Corinne distant, unkempt, and
acting in a very strange, not to say insane, manner. It’s bizarre and
puzzling. She has an altar in her bedroom, and she spends most of her
time looking out at the ocean, where her husband has recently drowned.
Compounding the weirdness are many mysterious people, an eerie fog that
surrounds the village, the appearance of a shadowy boy who tries to lure
Joey into life-threatening situations, and the final “mummer” party,
at which the ghost of Corinne’s husband finally appears playing his
old violin and putting his audience in a sort of trance.

The story is somewhat too long, is not particularly well told, and
contains too many implausibilities; in addition, the ghost scenes are
rather clichéd. But in spite of these imperfections, it is the kind of
story that many preteen readers will love. Recommended.


Falcone, L.M., “The Mysterious Mummer,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024,