In his books, John Bellairs (1938–91) fuses an erudite silliness with real menace. Bellairs’s first novel, The Face in the Frost (1969), is a high fantasy pastiche with wizard monks whose spells are double-dactyl poems about St. Athanasius and who watch anachronistic baseball games through a magic mirror. But the evil the monks battle is stark: absence; transformation; the darkest, coldest night.
...Bellairs wrote over a dozen popular mysteries featuring various sets of young people teamed up with eccentric adults to solve occult crimes. The books are packed full of inside jokes, Catholic trivia, literary references, and, above all, a deep respect for the intelligence and moral compasses of his readers of all ages.