The Screaming Staircase – Jonathan Stroud

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Screaming Staircase Cover

Screaming Staircase Cover

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again . . .

Other Books by the Author

The Whispering Skull

The Bartimaeus series

Heroes of the Valley

The Last Siege

The Leap

Buried Fire

Book Trailer

Interactive Game

Author Website


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Knightley & Son – Rohan Gavin

The Reluctant Assassin – Eoin Colfer

Shiverton Hall – Emerald Fennell

The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman

Johnny and the Dead – Terry Pratchett


31 thoughts on “The Screaming Staircase – Jonathan Stroud

  1. I really enjoyed this book, although I’m not generally a fan of scary stories. It’s set in a world with ghosts around every corner. They’re a big problem so there are a lot of companies employing children in the business of getting rid of them.
    This book is written from the point of view of a ghost hunter called Lucy. She’s brave and ruthless but caring and thoughtful at the same time and, because anyone can empathise with her, this opens up the story to a wider audience than just people who like horror stories.
    I thought it was brilliantly plotted. At one stage, two stories that seemed unrelated came together and really got me thinking. I like that in books. Warning! If you haven’t read it yet, there’s a really interesting and useful glossary at the end. I wish I’d spotted it before I finished the book!

  2. I liked this book because it took a completely different approach to writing about hauntings. In a world of agencies battling to make a profit in the ghost-catching business, Lockwood & Co. is a small company battling for survival – quite literally as the children are on their own. I loved the mix of fantasy, mystery, action and supernatural.

  3. This is a fantastic story about ghosts and the mysteries behind them. I like it because it contains action and adventure. I found the beginning a bit confusing because I didn’t know who the narrator was until chapter 5 but I liked the way it was written from Lucy’s point of view. It made it all seem more real. My favourite part was the Red Room. This book is probably my favourite so far and the sort that I would read over and over again.

  4. I loved this book and all its original ideas. It was hard to put down. I thought it was all very convincing and I’m hoping that a romantic relationship between Lucy and Lockwood will develop as the series progresses. I found the glossary very useful but was surprised and a bit disappointed that none of George’s maps were included. I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the series and – maybe – some of George’s maps!

  5. I thought this book was a bit slow at the start but it got better. The characters were portrayed well and the story became increasingly interesting as the author slowly unravelled the investigations and built tension. I thought Lucy was a great character and I felt I was with her as the story progressed. There were some great ideas in this book – like the locket that held lots of memories – and I really enjoyed it in the end.

  6. This isn’t really my type of book but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy it! Lucy is a strange girl – up one minute and down the next – but I liked the writing style and the rather different vocabulary.

  7. I didn’t think I’d enjoy this book much but I was proved wrong. Jonathan Stroud is a genius at introducing new words on every page. I really liked the character of Lockwood because, like me, he could have sudden mood swings but he could also be interestingly mysterious. Overall, I think it was a great story and I would be inclined to read the next one.

  8. This book is so gripping! The author portrays a parallel world with ghosts and makes it believable with little touches like the corner shop, donuts and society magazines. I was propelled into a world I could imagine so vividly. It left me with lots of questions and lots of ideas running through my head and I’m really looking forward to reading The Whispering Skull just as soon as NEBA is over.

  9. I liked Lockwood & Co. very much indeed. I thought Lucy’s back story was interesting and set the scene for the rest of the story. In fact I think Lucy’s story was my favourite part. I loved the description of Lucy’s ‘first ghost’ sitting out on the moors. There were some really chilling bits in this book but the one that stays with me is the conversation between Lucy and George’s ghost jar. It was skin crawling!

  10. I thought this was a gloriously scary book but the humour running throughout helped to lighten even the most dire situations. I liked the way that we didn’t get to the ‘screaming staircase’ until a good way into the story and I was kept wondering about the scene pictured on the cover for quite a while. I’m enjoying the sequel just as much! Sssssh!

  11. I thought this was an action-packed story that really kept me interested. I especially liked the Annabel Walls story inside it. However, I felt that the author kept Annabel’s killer way too hidden as most of the clues were withheld from us until the very end and I really didn’t like that. I also found it rather unrealistic that a group of children lived in a house by themselves and no adult thought to interfere! I want to know why! Nevertheless, I liked this book. The characters were easy to relate to, especially George who was mocking, sarcastic and always had to have the last word. I loved the tension and rivalry between him and Lucy and could believe in his anxiety that she would take his place as Lockwood’s friend.

  12. This book started too slowly for me but I liked the trick the author plays on us when the first staircase turns out not to be the screaming staircase. My favourite character was Lockwood because he’s so smart and grown up.

  13. This book is about a detective agency that investigates the supernatural. I thought the story was confusing and had many surprises, you never knew what was going to happen next. This is why I thought it was good.

  14. Although this is a gory and boyish sort of book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sometimes, I thought the pace was so quick, I felt the urge to read quickly! I liked the way it was narrated by Lucy so we saw everything through the eyes of a newcomer just like us. I don’t expect many girls will enjoy this book as much as I did but I think it will be one of my favourites.

  15. I really enjoyed Screaming Staircase. It’s set in a parallel world where, instead of terrorism and global warming, ghosts are the problem. I thought it was thrilling and well-structured and I liked how we had to wait until the end for the Screaming Staircase to appear. This is the second time I’ve read the book and I appreciated it more the second time, perhaps because I’m older and am picking up more. I really liked the character of Lockwood – he’s so calm in tough situations – and I’m looking forward to finding out more about him in the sequel.

  16. I thought this book had quite a slow start but from Part 2 onwards, it was great. When they were in the red room and surrounded by dripping blood, I just had to keep reading to see what was going to happen. I couldn’t put it down!

  17. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I thought I would because there were a lot of things to have to remember and it was quite slow at the beginning. What was good was that it had two things going on: a murder mystery and a ghost story.

  18. Lockwood and Co.: The Screaming Staircase has an audacious plot line throughout the ongoing series along with the interesting past of Lucy Carlyle as well as the completely fresh and new idea of the ghosts in London; complete with the extraordinary Anthony Lockwood, the curiously exciting character who is personally my favourite character. And an added glossary!

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this adventure ghost story. I found the book well-paced, thrilling, and would recommend this to anyone who has an interest in daunting stories. It was also a brilliant idea to have children as ghost hunters. Although I do not read ghost stories I would definitely go on to read the whole series.

    I think this book is amazing. My favourite part is when they discover the screaming staircase and the source of the ghost monks at the bottom of the basement in scary Combe Carey Hall. I think this book is scary but exciting at the same time. I loved this book.


    I loved this book even though it can sometimes keep you up at night listening carefully to all the noises. Can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

    I thought that this book was very well written and really good, but I also thought it was quite scary and that was a nuisance because I only really have time to read at night time. If people have a very vivid imagination like me then I think that they should wait till they are older to read this book.

    Three quirky characters, one brilliant book, and an adventure around every corner. The characters were described so well that I could almost see them in front of me. It’s a bit like Scooby-Doo (which I love); you suspect that one character is guilty and so do the main characters but it turns out it’s actually someone else!

  19. I thought the story line was very good and the scenes in the haunted houses sounded amazing. I haven’t read anything this long before and I found it the hardest of the five books to read. However, I wasn’t bothered by how long the book was because it was so good. I thought it was really smart to have cases overlapping – which they would in real life – and they distracted me from working out the murderer of Annie Ward. Considering it was the title of the book, I was surprised how little time was spent on the case of the screaming staircase.

  20. This has to be the best ghost story I’ve ever read, probably because the characters are so well drawn and always stay in character, whatever happens. Also, the plot seems to be really well thought out. I’ve not encountered a book like this before. What made it really enjoyable for me was just the right proportion of humour and macabre to keep me interested and make me want to read the rest of the Lockwood series.

  21. This book featured strong characters and an engaging plot. It’s written from the perspective of Lockwood’s new assistant. She’s a wonderful heroine and easy to relate to.

  22. I really enjoyed this book because it was tense and action-packed from the very first page! The personalities of the characters helped make the story special and seeing everything through the eyes of Lucy, who is new, made it interesting. Also, George provided some humour, which made a clever contrast. I thought this book was witty, clever and tense and I can’t wait to read the next one!

  23. Lockwood is not the type of book I’d normally read and I was expecting the characters to be stereotypes and the plot to be boring. However, the relationship between the three main characters was the best bit. Lucy reminded me of a big sister trying to control her younger brothers and it made me laugh a lot. On top of this, the plot was outstanding and quite different from your usual ghost-hunting story. I enjoyed this book very much indeed!

  24. I thought this book was clever, original and imaginative. I liked the use of made-up words and that I could find out their meanings in the glossary.

  25. I enjoyed this book very much because it was really scary but believable too. It had me gripped the whole way through and it was a total page turner. I can’t wait to start the second book and find out what happens between Lucy and the ghost jar!

  26. Stunning. Terrifying. Beautiful. Lockwood and Co. was by far my favourite book to read in the monthly challenge. The author managed to wonderfully capture the reader’s full attention and get their hearts flying to their throats. Honestly, I highly recommend only reading this book before dark in case one’s imagination gets the better of them. The characters are varied with different personalities and backstories that are mentioned but not explained, switching on curiosity. You will find yourself hanging onto every word of Lucy Carlyle, and quickly discovering that the entire book is just one big mystery itself. My life will not be the same until I can get my hands on the second part.

  27. I thought this book was very hard to get in to at first but later it was really exciting and mysterious. I also like the way the author made suspense at the end.

  28. To me, I thought this book was the best out of all of them, it was suspenseful, thrilling and believable as well, it wasn’t too rambling and not a lot of jargon was used. I loved the characters, Lockwood and Lucie were my favourite and I liked the idea of there being a hint of a detective/murder mystery with Annabel yet this is clearly a great read and I can’t wait for the sequel. This book had me rapt and I know many people with similar tastes to that I just described will like this gripping novel.

  29. This was an absolutely excellent book. I loved the story: the amount of suspense and creepiness was just right to keep you turning page after page very quickly. I liked the three main characters, especially Lockwood who was smooth, intelligent, witty and charming. The ghosts were really chillingly described and the story raced along to a brilliant and satisfying climax. I am looking forward to reading the second book in this series.

  30. I thought this book was really good although I don’t like scary books this had to be the best scary book I have ever read. My favourite part was when they went into the house and they accidentally burnt down the house.

  31. This is an amazingly gripping read, a real spine shiverer! The descriptions of the horrors that the three faced were extraordinary – I could almost hear the screams and feel the coldness of the Red Room and the Screaming Staircase. I especially liked the twist at the end and I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel.

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