It is the first day of school, and fifth grader Marsh (short for Marshall) Mayo has secretly taken his pet white mouse to school. It has escaped through a hole in his pocket. Fortunately, there is an early dismissal, and Marsh is able to walk the short distance from his home back to school to try to find it. With the permission of the janitor, he gets into his classroom to look for “something he left behind.” While Marsh is in the process of catching his mouse, a sudden chill and a smoky odor fill the room—a ghost is present! Marsh is thrilled that the rumor of Stockade Elementary School being haunted is true. He has always been interested in ghosts, and it doesn’t take him long to figure out what is happening.
Unceremoniously he touches a part of the ghost’s aura and is inadvertently transported by the ghost into its time and dimension. The ghost is the minister of Schenectady, Dominie Perrtus Tesschenmaeker, who cannot rest until he finds his Liturgy and conducts the Service for the Dead for his massacred congregation. The dominie’s body is also Marsh’s portal back to the present. Coincidentally, Marsh’s class is studying the Schenectady Massacre.
Marsh is quickly able to involve two classmates, Albert, the brain, and John, the bully, in the quest for the Liturgy, and author Jack Reber is into a double storyline that entertains and teaches an action-packed history lesson. While the class studies the textbook version, Marsh, Albert, John, Casper the mouse, and readers are interactive witnesses to the activities on both sides and to the realities of February 8, 1690, the day when the French and their Native American allies attacked the Dutch settlement. Through the boys, readers are involved in the historical moment, sharing in the lifestyle of the period and the horror of the massacre. The boys do find the Liturgy, now displayed as an artifact in their church. The indentifier tag says that the book is opened to the Service for the Dead. A copy machine is used to duplicate the pages, and the boys get them to the ghost.