Derek isn’t happy about having to do repair duty at the old cemetery for his grade-six community service project. He has worked hard to get past the loss of a neighbour who was hit by a car, and now he is worried that spending time in a cemetery might bring his nightmares back.

But when the lessons on cemetery care turn out to be so strange and interesting, Derek doesn’t have time to dwell on the past. And when it rains, the lessons take place in the nearby public library, which means he can avoid the cemetery altogether — at least for an afternoon.

One day an anonymous donation arrives at the library. It’s copies of a new mystery novel, with a secret code penciled inside. And when Derek and his friends Merrilee and Pascal track the clues from one mystery novel to the next, they discover a time capsule filled with clues that may finally help Derek put his haunting past to rest.

Includes a secret code for readers to decipher!

Field notes

Cover used by permission of Groundwood Books. Text © 2013 Jessica Scott Kerrin, cover illustration © 2013 Sam Kalda