Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell


Goodreads:  Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse
Series: Goth Girl #1
Source: Library
Published: 2013


Ada Goth lives in Ghastly-Gorm Hall, an estate so large she still has not explored all of it.  While her father occupies himself with his poetry, Ada spends most of her days alone.  Then one night the ghost of a mouse appears, leading Ada to a mystery.  Why is the indoor groundskeeper sneaking around?  And what secrets are hidden in the broken wing of the hall?

Star Divider


Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse plays with Gothic literary tropes, as well as  with a variety of other classic literature.  From references to Moby-Dick to Gulliver’s Travels to Frankenstein, the story is a treasure trove of allusions–perhaps best suiting it for older audiences, even if some worry that pictures mean the book is for smaller children.  However, ultimately it is the illustrations that make the story truly memorable.

The story begins with a ghostly mouse appearing in Ada Goth’s bedroom.  It asks her to investigate and remove the source of its untimely demise, leading her straight into a mystery.  The indoor groundskeeper is preparing for the annual indoor hunt–a gathering where guests romp through the halls of the estate, capturing prey in nets and then releasing them.  But something seems wrong.

Readers will no doubt guess the source and the outcome of the mystery with little trouble.  Fortunately, the illustrations make the story far more interesting.  They are often detailed and have a quirky kind of comedy to them.  For instance, a running joke is Ada’s daily outfit, delivered to her by a maid who refuses to leave her closet.  Each day’s outfit is, for no discernible reason, themed.  But Ada wears it all with grace and readers are left wondering what she will have to wear next!  This light-hearted humor, evident throughout, carries the story, removing the darkness from a book that features vampires, ghosts, and monsters.

Readers who are fans of Chris Riddell’s artwork will, of course, appreciate his quirky comedy in this Ada Lovelace and the Ghost of a Mouse.  It will also appeal, however, to readers who enjoy quirky middle-grade mysteries and readers who do not take their Gothic literature too seriously.

4 stars


10 thoughts on “Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell

  1. Miri ♪ Book Dragoness ♪ says:

    No wonder the cover illustration looked familiar! Chris Riddell’s art has a very unique style – btw, have you read the Edge Chronicles? I did read the first one and I was spooked by it and haven’t gone back to that series :p

    Anyway, lovely review! 🙂 It sounds totally up my ally (I love illustrated books and I wish there were more!) and I’ll have to see if my library has shelved it!


    • Krysta says:

      I haven’t read the Edge Chronicles! I’m interested in them, though, because I’d love to see more of Riddell’s artwork!

      And, yes! It’s so sad illustrations are mostly in books for younger children. I love picture books. But I also love illustrated MG! Illustrated YA would be amazing. I don’t think I’ve really seen that, aside from chapter headers or little decorative dividers, except in The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge. I consider that YA because of content matter, but I have seen people call it MG–maybe because it’s illustrated!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Miri ♪ Book Dragoness ♪ says:

        I suspect that the reason there aren’t that many illustrated YA or Adult books is because of the idea that illustrations = content for younger readers. That’s just too bad! I can’t speak for everyone but I’m totally up for illustrated YA. I can’t really remember reading them, other than Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale (and the sketches are few and far between) and The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo (the illustrations are in the margins though but I think it counts because it develops over the stories).

        I have The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge on my TBR so now I’m extra excited to eventually check it out from my library (I’m an avid library patron as I think you can guess :p Thank you very much, parents.)


        • Krysta says:

          Yes! But that makes me so sad! It’s so contradictory to say illustrations are for small children only, but also have art museums and art galleries full of work some would claim only an elite few can understand. Maybe we should finally acknowledge art is for everyone!

          And, really, some picture books are soo sophisticated. I love how the Otter books by Sam Garton, for example, sometimes have illustrations that contradict the text a little. So Otter might say she’s not afraid, but she looks scared in the pictures. I love that Garton respects his readers and knows even children can pick up on stuff like that!

          Yes! The library is the best. I’m sad mine has been struggling for funds, but I know that my using it can help them advocate for more!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Miri ♪ Book Dragoness ♪ says:

            Ooh, I’ll have to check the Otter books out!

            I agree with you! I was planning to type a reply to your thoughts about illustrations but I realized that it’ll be long and that it’ll be probably better if I wrote a blog post about it :p Do you mind if I quote your thoughts in the beginning (with proper credit of course) so that I can refer as to what sparked the idea for the post?


            • Krysta says:

              Otter also has a blog if you can’t find the books, but, of course, she doesn’t post as much since she’s been published. 😦

              Ooh! That sounds like a really interesting post! I’d be flattered if you quoted me!

              Liked by 1 person

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