Monday, November 2, 2009

The Secret Life of Dave


I just picked up The Figure in the Shadows, the sequel to one of my favorite childhood books The House with the CLock in its Walls. John Bellairs, the author, writes great mystery thrillers tinged with elements of magic. Plus, they are filled with illustrations by greats like Edward Gorey and Mercer Mayer. But that's not why I'm writing about them now. No, I'm writing about them because they reveal all too much about one of Little Shop's owners, Dave Shallenberger.

Supposedly, Dave was a lawyer until he became half-owner of Little Shop. Supposedly Dave lived in Arizona before Georgia, and supposedly he grew up in Chicago. But I just discovered evidence to the contrary--

Here's the opening page of The Figure in the Shadows:

"Lewis Barnavelt stood at the edge of the playground. watching the big boys fight.

"It was a real battle. Tom Lutz and Dave Shellenberger were two of the big wheels that ran Lewis's school. Usually they beat up on everybody else; now they were slugging it out with each other. In a funny way, it reminded Lewis of the battles of gods and heroes that he had read about in the Classics Comics version of the Illiad.

"'Here, see how you like that, huh?' Tom threw a handful of gravel in Dave's face. Dave charged Tom, and now the two of them were rolling over and over on the ground, kicking and clawing and screaming dirty words. Lewis saw that the fight might be coming his way, so he backed into the shadowy alley that ran between the school and the episcopal church next door."

Dave, tell us: what did you do to poor Tom Lutz, and why haven't we ever heard from him? And what did you do to draw the wrath of John Bellairs? Is it coincidence that he got a degree from the University of Chicago?

1 comment:

AsianCajuns said...

My sister and I use to read John Bellairs all the time. I think I've read every children's book by him twice and still love curling up on the couch with a coke and slice of chocolate cake, reading about the adventures of Johnny and the Professor.