The School Librarian vol 57 no. 4 Winter 2009
Title: Train Ghost
ISBN: 978 0 9555096 3 6

A delightful tale of two girls, Emma and Emmy, at once twins and opposites. They look similar and they are both excellent runners, but their lives are so different. Emma is firmly ensconced in the middle of a family of three children, that is secure financially and emotionally a loved and cared-for daughter. Emmy is alone with a dysfunctional father whom she both loves and hates, her mother having left them. A multi-faceted novel, it is a ghost story featuring a friendly spirit, a thriller involving three unsavoury characters, but above all a sensitive in-depth portrait of two human beings, one representing the 'haves' of this world and the other representing the 'have-nots', reaching out to each other.

In paperback format, with a suitably atmospheric cover illustration by lan Purdy, this novel is extremely well written and constructed. Much could be learned from a study of its style. Each chapter ends in mid-sentence and with three dots and the next begins with three dots and a half-sentence which follows on from the previous one but relates to a different character or situation: a technique which produces a cliff-hanger and a propulsion moving the story on. Every library in the country should have not one but multiple copies.

Elizabeth Finlayson