The Story So Far

Lewis Barnavelt seriesRose Rita Pottinger was dreading summer. With her best friend, Lewis Barnavelt, away at Boy Scout camp, vacation threatened to be altogether boring. But when Mrs. Zimmermann, Lewis's next door neighbor and genuine witch, receives a strange and puzzling deathbed letter from an eccentric uncle, unexpected things start to happen. Rose Rita and Mrs. Zimmermann set off on a trip to discover the meaning of the letter. A ransacked farmhouse, a missing ring, shadowy figures appearing in the night, and mysterious magic symbols are just the beginning as their trip becomes a nightmare and they are drawn into a dark world of occult mysteries, a terrifying world where Mrs. Zimmermann's failing powers of witchcraft can't help them.

The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring (1976), by John Bellairs, is the third book in the Lewis Barnavelt series.



"An amazing adventure...with Gothic, mysterious additions which send shivers up the spine and add to the spooky will definitely not find this in quality of writing in Goosebumps!" - Jonathan Abucejo



As she stood by the window, Mrs. Zimmermann noticed that the store was open. It was nine o'clock at night, but the owners of junk shops often keep odd hours. She went in, and Rose Rita followed her. There were old chairs with ratty velvet upholstery, and bookcases with a few books in them, and old dining room tables with an incredible assortment of junk laid out on them. Mrs. Zimmermann stopped in front of one of these tables. She picked up a salt and pepper set shaped like a fielder's mitt and a ball. The ball was the salt.

"How'd you like this for your room, Rose Rita?" she said, chuckling.

Rose Rita said she would love it. She liked anything that had to do with baseball. "Gee, could I have it for my desk, Mrs. Zimmermann? I think it's kind of cute."

"Okay," said Mrs. Zimmermann, still laughing. She paid the owner twenty-five cents for the set and went on browsing. Next to a dusty bowl full of mother-of-pearl buttons was a stack of old photographs. They were all printed on heavy cardboard, and, from the clothes that people in the pictures were wearing, they must have been pretty old. Humming, Mrs. Zimmermann shuffled through the stack. Suddenly she gasped.

Rose Rita, who had been standing nearby, turned and looked at Mrs. Zimmermann. Her face was pale, and the hand that held the photograph was trembling.

"What's wrong, Mrs. Zimmermann?"

"Come . . . come over here, Rose Rita, and look at this."

Rose Rita went to Mrs. Zimmermann's side and looked at the picture she was holding. It showed a woman in an old-fashioned floor-length dress. She was standing by the bank of a river, and she had a canoe paddle in her hand. Behind her a canoe was pulled up on the bank. A man in a striped jacket was sitting cross-legged next to the canoe. He had a handlebar mustache, and he was playing a banjo. The man looked handsome, but it was impossible to tell what the lady looked like. Someone had scraped the face of the lady away with a knife or a razor blade.

Rose Rita still didn't see what was bothering Mrs. Zimmermann. But as she stood there wondering, Mrs. Zimmermann turned the picture over. On the back these words were written:

Florence and Mordecai.
Summer, 1905.

Read More Lewis Barnavelt!

The Figure in the ShadowsThe Ghost in the Mirror