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Children's Fiction Mysteries & Detective Stories

The Missing Skull

by (author) John Wilson

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Sep 2016
Mysteries & Detective Stories, Art & Architecture, Multigenerational
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2016
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2016
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 4 to 7
  • Reading age: 9 to 12


A trip to a remote lake in northern Ontario with his grandfather doesn't thrill Steve, especially since his twin brother, DJ, was taken to Central America. Matters start to look up when his grandfather tells Steve about the mysterious death of the artist Tom Thomson and sets him the task of finding Thomson's missing skull. Steve loves mysteries, but when odd things begin happening and strange people start threatening him, Steve wonders whether this is part of his grandfather's plan. Is this still a simple puzzle, or is something far more sinister going on?

In this thrilling prequel to Lost Cause and Broken Arrow, the history- and mystery-loving Steve ends up in remote northern Ontario.

About the author

John Wilson was born in 1951 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He did his early growing up on the Island of Skye and in Paisley, near Glasgow. From 1969 to 1974, he attended the University of St. Andrews where he took an Honours B.Sc.. in Geology and never played golf once. He took a position with the Geological Survey of Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). In his two years there, he mapped rocks, dodged land mines and watched the country sink ever deeper into civil war. Shortly before he was due to be called into the army, John retreated back to Britain on his way to the safety of Canada. He settled on Calgary where geology was booming and the only danger was freezing to death in January. In 1979, he moved to Edmonton to take up a post with the Alberta Geological Survey. In 1988 he sold a feature article to the Globe and Mail. This fueled a smouldering mid-life crisis and he took up freelance writing full-time. With some success, John mined the experiences of his travels for articles, journalism and photo essays. He even began to express himself poetically and, with a young family, began writing children's stories. He moved to Nanaimo and then Lantzville on Vancouver Island. John has been widely published by a number of Canadian presses, with his acolades including a shortlisting for the Governor General’s Award.

John Wilson's profile page


  • Commended, CCBC Best Books

Editorial Reviews

"Wilson successfully creates a series of layered mysteries each more compelling than the last...The Missing Skull is a great, fast-paced read...Recommended."

CM Magazine

"Well-written and well-planned series about the seven grandsons of David McLean…Mystery buffs will enjoy the mysterious tale of Thomson's death and the trail of clues set up by Grandpa, even when Steve misinterprets the clues and mayhem ensues. The remote northern Ontario landscape, complete with cold lake, rocks and bush along with the cabin lacking electricity and water highlights the real camping experience unfamiliar to so many urban students. Dialogue is modern and up to date with Steve's friend Sam's computer googling and their cell phone chats grounding the story in the present day."

Resource Links

Other titles by John Wilson