The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt is the second book in the Johnny Dixon series, published in 1983.
Johnny Dixon befriends Byron "Fergie" Ferguson at Boy Scout camp where the two boys stumble upon a clue that Johnny thinks will lead to the lost will of cereal magnate H. Bagwell Glomus. After learning of his grandmother's brain tumor, Johnny returns to a wintry New Hampshire in hopes the reward money will pay for her operation. Instead he founds out he's not the only one with a clue as to the will's hiding place.
Young Johnny Dixon and his friend, Professor Roderick Childermass, attend a tour of a mansion that once belonged to reclusive millionaire and cereal magnate H. Bagwell Glomus. Glomus had committed suicide by drinking poison decades ago, and reportedly left no will, meaning that his assets were divided up among his descendants under Massachusetts law. During the tour, the guide hints that Glomus had hidden his will somewhere, and left clues to its location. Johnny becomes fascinated with the idea of finding the will, and he begins memorizing the clues the millionaire left behind, despite the Professor's insistence that the whole thing is a load of rubbish.
Some time later, Johnny's grandmother Kate takes ill with a brain tumor. With Johnny's mother dead and his father off fighting as a pilot in the Korean War, this news profoundly effects Johnny, who is worried for her life. Recognizing that Johnny needs some time to himself, Professor Childermass and Johnny's grandfather send him to a summer camp in New Hampshire while his grandmother prepares for a risky operation.
At camp, Johnny quickly befriends the wisecracking Byron "Fergie" Ferguson, with whom he shares a love of history. Having put Bagwell's will out of his mind for a while, Johnny suddenly pieces together some clues that indicate that the will may be found in one of Bagwell's other estates--Staunton Harold--which is coincidentally not far from the camp where he currently is staying. Johnny, wanting to explain his discovery to the professor, makes his way to Squam House, a nearby bed and breakfast run by Mrs. Woodley that has a telephone. While calling Childermass, he notices a sinister man eying him. A short time later, Johnny finds what he believes to be a death threat directed at him.
Johnny loops Fergie into the hunt for the will, and the two of them sneak out that evening and head to the dilapidated mansion to look for clues. They are confronted by the sinister man, who explains that he is Glomus's grandson--the melancholic Chadwick Glomus, who has worked out the clue leading to Staunton Harold as well. Chadwick, who is friendlier than he appears, leads the boys inside the mansion through a secret tunnel and explains that he fears the shapeshifting Guardian who lives in the place--the result of his grandfather's experiments with dark magic. Chadwick explains that candles burn blue in the evil presence of the Guardian, and that it can turn people into dried-out mummies if it catches them, which is what happened to his great uncle Platt. He stresses that the Guardian is dangerous, and that he thinks it has caused three unexplained disappearances in the area over several years.
When leaving the mansion, the two boys hear an unearthly scream, and later find Chadwick's rifle and expensive flashlight lying on the ground outside. Fergie convinces Johnny that the whole thing is an elaborate prank. Later, Johnny overhears that Chadwick's car had been found on the property with the keys still inside, and that he has been declared missing.
Johnny returns home to find that the operation on his grandmother was successful, but she is still in ill health. The Dixon family receives news that Harrison Dixon, Johnny's father, has been shot down over North Korea while flying his plane, and that it is unknown whether he is alive. Johnny's worries over his family's situation become more and more severe, and he convinces himself that finding the Glomus inheritance will allow him to fund expert medical care for his grandmother.
While at the library, Johnny stumbles upon yet another clue leading him to believe that the will is located at Staunton Harold's chapel. He makes off with his grandparents' savings, $100, and buys a train ticket to New Hampshire. He leaves a note, and the professor realizes that Johnny has to be after the Glomus will. Johnny arrives at the hotel owned by Mrs. Woodley, who remembers him and begins questioning him. Johnny overhears Mrs. Woodley talking to Chadwick's ghost and finds out that she is actually the sister of H. Bagwell Glomus, and that she has learned to control the Guardian through her magic. Mrs. Woodley plans to kill Johnny so he cannot find the will--Johnny overhears this and quickly flees to the mansion.
The professor enlists Fergie, who tells him about Chadwick's disappearance. Childermass and Fergie drive to New Hampshire to find Johnny. They encounter Mrs. Woodley, who is hostile towards them and denies that she has seen Johnny. Childermass finds proof than Johnny was at the hotel, and an angry Mrs. Woodley injures him with magic. The two of them make for Staunton Harold, and Mrs. Woodley awakens the Guardian.
Johnny proceeds down the secret tunnel through the mansion's crypt and finds the withered body of Chadwick Glomus. Thinking he has found the hiding place of the will, Johnny is disappointed when he uncovers only chicken bouillon cubes stashed there. Chadwick's mummified body reanimates and begins to pursue Johnny, who flees deeper into the mansion itself. The invisible Guardian begins burning and shaking the house's foundations, and it starts to crumble. Just before the balcony he is standing on collapses, Johnny sees a statue of the knight Godfrey de Bouillon, and realizes this has to be the location of the will.
Johnny awakens from unconsciousness in a hospital with a concussion. The professor explains that Staunton Herald has completely burned down, and that Mrs. Woodley passed away during the night--killed by the magic device she used to control the Guardian. The professor also reveals that the will inside the statue was incinerated in the calamity. Johnny receives a visit from Glomus's widow, who writes the Dixon family a check for a large amount of money. At the conclusion of the book, Johnny's father arrives back home.
Main article: Johnny Dixon Series#Characters
- B. Woodley
- The Guardian
- Duston Heights, Massachusetts
- Kancamagus Center, New Hampshire
For Candice, a fellow writer and a good friend.
"I wrote to John via his publisher in 1978. I'd been a big fan of The Face in the Frost and the first Johnny book. I was just starting to write full-time. I sent John, of all things, a recipe for Indian pudding. He wrote back and we began our friendship by letters. John was my first contact with a "real writer." While he didn't influence my career that much (we wrote vastly different things), he made me realize that "famous writers" were real people, with real problems and real lives. He kept me grounded and laughing at the same time. I wish I had had a chance to reciprocate and dedicate one of my books to John, but he left us too soon."
- Correspondence with Candice Ransom.
|Johnny Dixon Series|
|By John Bellairs|
|Completed by Brad Strickland|
|By Brad Strickland|
|Who's who||Johnny Dixon | Byron Ferguson | Roderick Childermass | Thomas Higgins | Charles Coote | Henry Dixon | Kate Dixon | Sarah Channing|
|What's what||Saint Michael's Catholic Church|
|Where's there||Duston Heights, Massachusetts|