The Winterbottom family is not exactly what you’d call close. Cousins Adele, Isabella and Milo have never even met each other, and the elder Winterbottoms have either died or refuse to see each other. So it’s rather strange when they each receive a letter from their rich Uncle Silas, who claims to be on his deathbed and in search of an heir. He wants each of them to spend some time with him so he can decide who will inherit his estate.
Once the children arrive though, they begin to suspect that Silas has something more on his mind than his own death. And his attentions towards them are anything but benign.
The Death (and Further Adventures) of Silas Winterbottom: The Body Thief by Stephen M. Giles is the first in a funny/creepy series for early readers. Reminiscent of Roald Dahl, Giles’s characters are deliciously outlandish and extreme.
There’s no doubt that Uncle Silas is capable of any despicable scheme. He’s mean to everyone except his pet crocodile. But the children are a mixture of good and bad. Each of them has trying circumstances in their pasts and those events have affected how they currently approach life. It’s interesting to see how they change as they spend time together.
The Death of Silas Winterbottom is lots of fun, and I recommend it for mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged nine to 12.