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," said PW in a starred review. "With snappy dialogue, nonstop action and lavishly embroidered period backdrops, this will please the author'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 5-9-Avi takes readers to 15th-century Italy in this entertaining tale of mystery and intrigue. Twelve-year-old Fabrizio is the servant of Mangus the Magician. When the king's daughter claims to have seen a ghost, the magician and the boy are summoned to the castle. The evil Count Scarazoni wants to prove the ghost is not real so that his wedding to the princess will not be postponed. Young Fabrizio uses trickery, recklessness, and bravado to ferret out clues, spying in castle halls and secret passages. His master, meanwhile, relies on pure reason to reach the truth. Between the two of them, they are able to unveil a web of plots and deceptions, and then find a way to thwart the count and save their own skins. The quick pace and several plot twists will keep readers turning pages. The mystery will keep them guessing, but it never becomes too complicated to follow. Fabrizio makes an appealing hero. His cleverness is often outdone by the schemes of others involved, but his courage and curiosity make up the difference. The boy often injects witty aphorisms into his conversation, and his enthusiasm and energy contrast entertainingly with the calm wisdom of his master. The villainous count is less fully drawn, as is the king, but the queen and the princess develop entertainingly as the story progresses. Most of the tale takes place within the "castello," and descriptions of the dark hallways, hidden staircases, and gloomy dungeon make a delightfully atmospheric setting for this historical mystery.-Steven Engelfried, Deschutes County Library, Bend, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.