Avi author writer
Poppy's Return Nothing But the Truth Crispin Cross of Lead True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle Loyalty Avi author writer
Seer of Shadows
HarperCollins, 2008
teaching guide
more mystery
more ghosts
The Seer of Shadows

The time is 1872. The place is New York City. Horace Carpetine has been raised to believe in science and rationality. So as apprentice to Enoch Middleditch, a society photographer, he thinks of his trade as a scientific art. But when wealthy society matron Mrs. Frederick Von Macht orders a photographic portrait, strange things begin to happen.

Horace's first real photographs reveal a frightful likeness: it's the image of the Von Machts' dead daughter, Eleanora.

Pegg, the Von Machts' black servant girl, then leads him to the truth about who Eleanora really was and how she actually died. Joined in friendship, Pegg and Horace soon realize that his photographs are evoking both Eleanora's image and her ghost. Eleanora returns, a vengeful wraith intent on punishing those who abused her.

Story Behind the Story

When you think of all the images you see there is no more ubiquitous art form than photography. The first photograph is thought to have been made in 1826 (1827?) but it took a long time for it to become accessible to vast numbers of people. I have long been interested in photography as a fine art, and for a good number of years had what was called a “dark room.” read more

Awards and Honors

School Library Journal Best books of the year, 2008
School Library Journal, starred review
Publishers Weekly, starred review
Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best Books list, 2008
Cooperative Children's Book Center Book of the Week
Cooperative Children's Book Center Choice, 2009
Missouri Mark Twain Readers Award nominee, 2010-2011


“… In perhaps [Avi’s] best work yet, [he] has created a truly chilling tale that will stay with the reader long after the last page is turned and the lights are turned out.” (Children's Literature)

Website copyright 2003 - Avi. All rights reserved. Privacy policy. Site designed by Winding Oak.
Materials on this website may be copied for classroom or library use but may not be reprinted or resold for commercial purposes.