Cover image for Midnight magic
Midnight magic
Avi, 1937-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Scholastic Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
249 pages ; 22 cm
In Italy in 1491, Mangus the magician and his apprentice are summoned to the castle of Duke Claudio to determine if his daughter is indeed being haunted by a ghost.
Reading Level:
660 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.7 6.0 34516.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.7 11 Quiz: 17150 Guided reading level: U.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Popular Materials-Young Adult

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Night after night, a ghost appears in the royal castle Pergamontio, terrifying the princess. Mangus the Magician doesn't believe in ghosts, but that doesn't stop him from being charged with finding this one. The King demands that Mangus free his daughter from the torment of the ghost...otherwise, the magician will pay with his life. Mangus's only hope is his faithful, street-smart servant boy, Fabrizio, who must solve the mystery of the ghost using logic and reason - and a bit of magic of his own.

Author Notes

Avi was born in 1937, in the city of New York and raised in Brooklyn. He began his writing career as a playwright, and didn't start writing childrens books until he had kids of his own.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-8. Avi continues to write across genres, this time offering a medieval mystery that will keep readers guessing to the very end. Fabrizio, the servant boy of the magician Mangus, gets embroiled in palace intrigue when Mangus is called to the castle to ascertain whether 10-year-old Princess Teresina has truly seen a ghost as she claims. Count Scarazoni, the king's closest advisor and Teresina's intended, wants the ghost to be a fiction. Teresina wants the king and others to believe that the ghost is that of her missing brother. Both the unwilling Mangus and the meddling Fabrizio become entangled in a conspiracy that could lead to their deaths. Avi provides as many twists and turns as there are secret corridors and hidden rooms in Teresina's massive palace. Most of the time these bends in the plot heighten the tension, once even providing some heart-stopping action. However, especially at the book's conclusion, some of the explanations of previous actions get a bit convoluted, and kids may have to read the ending more than once before everything makes sense. They may not mind too much, though, because the combination of magic and mystery is pretty irresistible. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Taut and suspenseful, this vivid mystery set in an imaginary kingdom of Renaissance Italy is vintage Avi. The story starts with a bang as an unmarked coach arrives one stormy night at the home of Mangus the magician, who is under house arrest for his knowledge of the dark arts. Mangus, as readers quickly learn, is no wizard but a former entertainer, and he in fact scoffs at the notion of magic. He protests vigorously when he is summoned to the castle (along with his 12-year-old servant, Fabrizio) and ordered to help free the princess from her visions of a terrifying ghost. All is not as it seems, however, as the pair discover a court intrigue involving a missing prince, a murder, hidden passageways and the king's Machiavellian adviser, Count Scarazoni. Weaving in the age-old clash between superstition and reason, Avi creates a sort of 15th-century Holmes and Watson in the characters of Mangus and Fabrizio, who continually trade aphorisms (" `Fabrizio, if you buy with ignorance, you will be paid with the same coin.' `But, Master, you know what people say, False gold often buys more than iron' "). With snappy dialogue, nonstop action and lavishly embroidered period backdrops, this will please Avi's fans and may well win over some new ones. Ages 10-14. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Mangus the magician and his faithful servant, Fabrizio, find themselves at the center of a complicated court intrigue when the king of Pergamontio brings them to the castle to determine if his young daughter is being visited by a ghost. Fabrizio discovers that the prince, who is supposedly on a trip to Rome, is actually feared murdered and that many are afraid that there is a traitor in the castle. Complicating matters, the king expects Mangus to use magic to get to the truth, while at the same time publicly decrying the practice. Jeff Woodman perfectly captures the intensity and quick pacing of Avi's story (Scholastic, 2004). Each character is a given a unique voice that convincingly depicts the individual's personality. Fabrizio's portrayal is particularly appealing as Woodman voices the boy with a quirky combination of intellect and superstition. Fine vocals combined with a suspenseful, action-packed story should appeal to a wide range of listeners.-Deanna Romriell, Salt Lake City Public Library, UT (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.