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Long Lost by Jan Mark
Published by Macmillan Children’s Books, 2002
ISBN 0 333 94996 X

Reviewed by Shannon Library Children’s Book Club – July 2004

Things haven’t been easy for George Bassett and his family since the death of their father left them practically penniless, so they cannot believe their luck when they inherit £20,000 from a distant relative. But another surprise is in store for them in the shape of another set of long lost relations who make contact with them. Fearing that they might want some of the inheritance, the Bassetts are initially wary of the Bassett-Milnes, but soon they are all getting on like a house on fire, especially George and young Fred Bassett-Milne. There is however one member of the Bassett-Milne family, Bertie, who is not happy with the situation and soon reveals himself to be both a snob and a bully. Trying to scare George, he makes up a fantastic story about an old family curse, which supposedly takes the form of a shadow, that affects eldest sons and results in a terrible death. The story ends when George sees the shadow actually following Bertie.

This book is one of a series called Shock Shop but the group wasn’t sure if this story would tempt them to read any of the others. The group didn’t find the story at all scary despite what the cover promised and felt that the ending was just left hanging there. Some of us found the ancestry parts of the story a bit confusing. Still, for an easy read (some of the group finished the book in one sitting!) and some great illustrations, Long Lost was given a 7 out of 10 rating.