The Screaming Staircase

The Screaming Staircase

Book - 2013
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Follows three young operatives of a Psychic Detection Agency as they battle an epidemic of ghosts in London.
Publisher: New York :, Disney-Hyperion Books,, [2013]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781423164913
Branch Call Number: J MYSTERY Stroud Jonathan 09/2013
Characteristics: 390 pages :,illustrations ;,22 cm.


From Library Staff

Follows three young operatives of a Psychic Detection Agency as they battle an epidemic of ghosts in London.

Stroud's worldbuilding skills, and hilarious, atmospheric, and descriptive language made this a page-turner for me. I especially enjoyed how he described characters, all the intricacies of ghostbusting, and the places where the hauntings took place. Stroud definitely has that rare ability to crea... Read More »

Follows three young operatives of a Psychic Detection Agency as they battle an epidemic of ghosts in London.

JCLChrisK Feb 27, 2014

I was quite excited to see Stroud is writing a new series, because there are certain things that are going to be givens about anything he writes: depth, quality, excitement, suspense, humor, realistically developed characters, and detailed world-building. This was no exception. You might have not... Read More »

JCLHilaryS Dec 21, 2013

Jonathan Stroud’s latest book is a thrilling fantasy set in England, in which ghosts roam the nights. Only the very young can see, hear, or otherwise sense spirits. As children near puberty, abilities to see or hear spirits surface, and they are thereby trained and employed by businesses whose so... Read More »

From the critics

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Oct 08, 2020

After Lucy Carlyle left her previous position under less than happy circumstances, she lands a job at Lockwood and Co., a small Psychic Detection Agency where she joins Anthony Lockwood and George Cubbins in detecting and eradicating ghosts and other specters. In recent years, "The Problem" has created many such agencies to pop up in London whose agents are all under 20 years old. Only young people have the psychic abilities to be able to deal with the spirits of the dead. Lockwood finds himself in financial trouble as he and Lucy accidentally destroyed a house while exterminating a violent ghost and are being told they must pay for the damage they caused. As a result, Lockwood and Co. takes a job offered by John William Fairfax, a wealthy business owner in London, who offers to pay their debt if they find the source of an infestation at a notorious mansion that has already claimed the lives of several other agents. As they venture inside for the first time, Lucy, George, and Lockwood realize that this job may be the end of not only their agency but also their lives.
The Screaming Staircase, though written for and advertised as being for young people, could easily be an adult novel. The characters are well-developed and the backstory is fully fleshed out. The suspense is spine-tingling as the possibility of physical harm rises and more and more secrets are revealed. Overall, this is a very good story with scary supernatural elements and quirky characters.

Sep 24, 2020

I LOVED the series and I always have them stocked at my bookcase. Pity there was only five books, however. I would have loved to read more. The books are just so suspenseful, creepy and funny! Five stars whole series

Jul 19, 2020

A good and entertaining read for what it was. I actually checked this book out twice before really getting into it--read most of it during most of shutdown-mode, spring 2020 while COVID was going rampant (proved a good and amusing mental escape). The main characters, Lucy Carlyle, Jonathan Lockwood and George Cubbins, all had good, if not modest, developments and intriguing chemistry. Centering around ghosting predicaments and situations in modern London/U.K., The Screaming Staircase was a quick and gripping sort of read. I especially liked how Stroud (author) incorporated his various Glossary-included terms and other randomly-selected vocabulary to entice the story. I'd recommend this title, not just for the Juvenile age group its intended, but anyone who just wants something to read while passing time.

Dec 04, 2019

What a fun book! Great cast of characters!! I loved them all. What could be better than kids on their own without adult supervision ... and loads of doughnuts? The balance of humor/storyline/action was perfect! I can't wait to read the next book in the series.

Dec 13, 2018

I love it< it was entertaining

Nov 20, 2018

A solid start to a new series. I will read more of these books.

Mar 17, 2018


OPL_KrisC Jan 31, 2018

I love creepy books and The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud is no exception. I think it's interesting how kids of a certain age are the ones that have the power to help with London's ghost problem and I love the character of Lucy Carlyle. I don't think I could handle some of the ghosts and situations that Lucy has to b/c I'm a total chicken. I've read this whole series and the books totally get creepier as they go.

caravan May 12, 2017

A real enjoyable read. It was scary, funny, and adventurous.

Apr 17, 2017

A new and scary Nancy Drew mystery. As an adult, it did not really seem scary at all but I think that would be different for a young adolescent. The characters were unique and well developed. I enjoyed the read but found it easy to put down between chapters and then pick up again. This could be a good thing for busy middle schoolers.

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Add Age Suitability

black_butterfly_704 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

OPL_KrisC Apr 06, 2018

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Mar 18, 2017

abbaluke thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Aug 13, 2015

Reyna_Avila_Grace thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

Jul 18, 2015

BookNerdoftheWorld thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

zackids Oct 17, 2014

zackids thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Feb 21, 2014

Padfoots_puppy thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over


ELIZABETH RAMSEY BIRD thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


Add a Quote
Aug 04, 2016

"May I present to you once again our host and patron, Mr. john William Faifax - Chairman of Fairfax Iron and noted industrialist, onetime actor and, of course, the murderer of Annie Ward."

Vanshika Makkar
May 24, 2016

No I just think you are deluded

JCLChrisK Feb 27, 2014

Just because, a sample of Stroud's fluent, eloquent writing:

"The caretaker was certainly very ancient, a tight and desiccated thing from which all softness and moisture had long since been extracted. Where Mr. Fairfax had been bullishly vigorous despite his age and infirmity, this man was more like the ash tree by the house: gnarled and twisted, but holding tenaciously to life. He had a shock of gray-white hair, and a narrow face that disintegrated, as he drew near, into a web of lines, a limestone surface with bumps and fissures. His clothes carried an air of somber correctness: he was dressed in an old-fashioned tail coat of dark black velvet, from the sleeves of which gray, liver-spotted fingers protruded. His striped pants were incredibly thin, his shoes as long and pointed as his nose."


“Of the first few hauntings I investigated with Lockwood & Co. I intend to say little, in part to protect the identity of the victims, in part because of the gruesome nature of the incidents, but mainly because, in a variety of ingenious ways, we succeeded in messing them all up.”


“In fact, it wasn’t at all an ugly hallway; in bright sunlight it might have looked quite pleasant. But not so much now, with the last light from the door panes stretching out like skewed coffins on the floor in front of us; and with our shadows neatly framed inside them..”


"With his glasses off, his eyes looked small and weak – blinky and a bit baffled, like an unintelligent sheep that’s taken a wrong turn. But when he put them on again, they went all sharp and steely, more like the eyes of an eagle that eats dumb sheep for breakfast.”


“..George Cubbins, handsome as a freshly opened tub of margarine, as charismatic as a wet tea towel lying scrumpled on the floor.”


Add Notices
Jun 21, 2019

Coarse Language: Very mild swearing

Aug 13, 2015

Frightening or Intense Scenes: A few intense scenes and slightly scary scenes. I'm a young teen and I though they were fine but I wouldn't recommend it for anything younger than a 10-year-old

Aug 13, 2015

Coarse Language: D--n, d--ned, how the h---, what the h---, why the h---, and bloody were each used once


Add a Summary
Vanshika Makkar
May 20, 2016

A girl named Lucy works at a company, "Lockwood and C.O.", with co-workers Lockwood and George. They all work as ghost catcher. One night they encountered a ghost nameed Anne Ward. While catching her a fire begins in the house. The owners ask them to pay €60,000 for repair, but the company does not has that much money! Will they be babble to pay off the depth and find the truth about Anti Ward?


It all began with The Problem. One day, for no apparent reason, the dead started to walk amongst the living. Not just walk, but really wreak some serious havoc. Here are the facts of the matter. 1. If you see a ghost, run. 2. Don’t let a ghost touch you, or you’re dead. 3. Only kids can see ghosts. What are we to make of these facts? Well, it’s no surprise when ghost-busting operations hiring children start cropping up. Enter Lockwood & Company. Run by the charming Anthony Lockwood alongside his two compatriots Lucy and George the ramshackle operation is barely scraping by. Enter a job that goes particularly wrong when the kids accidentally burn down their employers’ home, and it would take a miracle to save the agency. Fortunately, a miracle shows up in the form of a very rich and powerful man. He’s hiring the three to take on the most haunted house in all of Britain. The catch? No one’s ever gotten out of it alive. Will our intrepid heroes take on the job, or is there more at work here than meets the eye?

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