Virginia Hamilton’s The House of Dies Drear combines historical fact and suspense in a novel for young readers. Having just turned thirteen, Thomas Small and his family move to a historic home in Ohio, where Mr. Small will teach college history. Once owned by the abolitionist Dies Drear, the old house was a stopping point for escaped slaves headed North on the Underground Railroad. Keen about history and adventure, Thomas is on the alert for ghosts, and it seems he might have found one: someone is moving around the place, making a mess in the kitchen. Thomas and his father discover that the “ghosts” are the Darrow brothers, who have been trying to frighten the Smalls, and caretaker Mr. Pluto and his son Mayhew, away from the treasure Mr. Pluto has discovered. It’s time to teach the Darrows a lesson. The Smalls, Mr. Pluto and his son, and Thomas’s friend Pesty, make a trap for the Darrows, frightening them away with visions of monsters and ghosts. As Hamilton's story ends, Mr. Small plans to catalogue the treasure that came with the old house, and readers have learned a great deal about Civil War history through this classic adventure tale.