The empty grave by Jonathan Stroud

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Lockwood and Co. book 5. Corgi Books, 2017. ISBN 9780552575799
(Age: 11+) Highly recommended. Lockwood with his trusty cohort, Lucy, George, Holly and Quill Kipps, not to mention the Skull in a jar, are off on their most perilous adventure in The empty grave. They are investigating the tomb of Marissa Fittes, trying to find out whether it really is her body that lies there or whether Penelope Fittes has succeeded in fooling everyone in London about what is really happening with the ghosts that constantly appear. To cap it all off, Penelope Fittes is on a mission to shut down all the smaller agencies and Lockwood and Co is in her sights.
Stroud continues on his action filled adventure series and such is the pace that the reader is keen to finish the 500+ pages of this finale. There is plenty of sword fighting, much terror as ghosts are vanquished and suspense as the reader follows the feelings that Lucy has for Lockwood, hoping that he will reveal some of his background and overcome his tendency to seek danger.
Stroud's witty asides and the Skull's sardonic dialogue gives the narrative a sprinkle of laugh out loud moments which relieves the sometimes scary moments as the group fight off their enemies and walk through the land of the dead. Each of the group grows in strength as they use their particular skills to fight the evil pervading the land. I particularly liked the character of the Skull whose role was crucial and fascinating and the bravery of Kipps and Flo were a highlight too.
This was a most satisfying conclusion to an enthralling series and I look forward to reading further books written by Stroud.
Pat Pledger