Billy Bones: Tales from the Secrets Closet

Billy Bones: Tales from the Secrets Closet

4.4 7
by Christopher Lincoln, Avi Ofer

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Deep within High Manners Manor, Billy and his skeleton parents live in the Secrets Closet, where they're in charge of filing all the secrets and lies of the unscrupulous Biglum family. Then Billy meets Millicent, Sir Biglum's niece who has been recently orphaned. Together, Billy and Millicent encounter ghosts and other uncanny creatures as they explore each other's


Deep within High Manners Manor, Billy and his skeleton parents live in the Secrets Closet, where they're in charge of filing all the secrets and lies of the unscrupulous Biglum family. Then Billy meets Millicent, Sir Biglum's niece who has been recently orphaned. Together, Billy and Millicent encounter ghosts and other uncanny creatures as they explore each other's worlds and uncover the biggest secret of all: Billy was once a Biglum.

Chris Lincoln has created a richly imaginative, highly original world. In this spooky adventure in the tradition of filmmaker Tim Burton, friendships bloom, betrayals linger, schemes entangle - and heroism appears in the most unexpected places.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Denise Daley
The Bones family consists of three skeletons that live in a small closet in the High Manners Manor. Their closet is packed tightly with many family secrets, lies, and half-truths. As the Basic Guide to the Afterlife explains, humans have never, thankfully, entered a secrets closet. That changes, though, when young Millicent moves into the Manor. Millicent stumbles upon Billy, and they quickly become good friends. Millicent's sad spirits are further lifted when she meets a sweet old woman who turns out to be her estranged grandmother. The three quickly become friends and they form an alliance that is desperately needed to stop Millicent's greedy uncle, Sir Biglum, from stealing the valuable paintings that Millicent's dearly deceased father left for her. Will Sir Biglum be able to keep his skeletons in the closet, or will all of his lies and secrets be revealed? This story is original and suspenseful, and the creepy characters are surprisingly warm and endearing, proving that humans can sometimes be scarier than monsters. Reviewer: Denise Daley
VOYA - Courtney Wika
Ten-year-old Billy Bones spends his days locked away in the darkest, most secret closet in the Biglum mansion. There he watches as his parents sort and file the Biglum family's biggest secrets, shady half-truths, and darkest lies into crates and chests that crowd the small space. Life is boring and a bit lonely for Billy, whose only friend is a beetle named Scamp, but when a little girl named Millicent moves into the attic of the big house, excitement follows. An amateur sleuth, Millicent quickly uncovers a host of surprises: ghosts, manifestations, an old woman locked away, and more important, Billy and his family. Released from his secrets closet, Billy and Millicent work together to uncover the mysteries surrounding the Biglum family and its evil heir, Sir Biglum. Although there is much to discover, nothing is as shocking as the secrets they uncover about Billy himself. A delightful new take on skeletons in the closet, this book offers a unique story for fans of both mystery and the supernatural. Although the "secrets" are uncovered without great difficulty, the narrative remains gripping as specters appear around every corner. The most colorful character, however, is the elderly grandmother, whose spunk and tenacity will quickly find her a place in the hearts of readers. A fast and fun read, the story wraps up a bit abruptly and without much trouble, but most readers will be attached enough to the characters not to mind a "happily every after" for all of them. Reviewer: Courtney Wika
School Library Journal

Gr 4-6

Full of creatively descriptive language, this delightful story moves along rapidly, bordering on but never crossing into campy. Billy Bones lives with his parents, the proverbial skeletons in the closet, who have the job of guarding the secrets and lies of the residents of High Manners Manor, including the current household head, the nefarious Sir Barkley Braggety Biglum VI. His recently orphaned niece, Millicent, now lives at the mansion, where she is relegated to the attic. Naturally curious, she often sneaks out of her room to explore. She comes upon her grandmother, Dame Biglum, who has been shut away upstairs, and the Bones's secrets closet. After recovering from their initial fright, the youngsters become friends, and they work together to uncover secrets about the Biglum family history, Billy's puzzling origins, and Barkley's latest plot. Meanwhile, in the Afterlife, investigations about the Boneses' own family mysteries are underway. All works out in the end as secrets are revealed, goodness and truth win out over lies and deception, and villains get their just deserts. Characters are aptly named-the unlikable housekeeper, Miss Primly; the collector of souls, Uncle Grim; and the lawyers Hack, Whack, and Plunder. Cartoon sketches add to the drama and humor. Billy Bones is a fun read.-Jennifer D. Montgomery, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green

Kirkus Reviews
Newly orphaned Millicent Hues has a natural curiosity that suits her new home, High Manners Manor. Sadly, her explorations are curtailed by her greedy uncle, Sir Biglum, and his housekeeper, Miss Primly. High Manners is a house good at keeping its secrets, but the last thing Millicent would have expected was to stumble upon a closet with honest-to-goodness skeletons in it. The Bones family members are the official secret-keepers of the household, but young Billy Bones, tired of his closet home, shares Millicent's desire for adventure. Sir Biglum's own secrets are intricately tied to Billy's past, and it's up to these intrepid new friends to uncover the truth behind the lies and to defeat the villains who wish to destroy them. Lincoln's book has an easygoing charm that never demands much of its readers. Despite multiple death scenes (most related in flashback), it's a light read with a gentle tone. Not a particularly new or original piece of work, but one that's sure to amuse those kids with a love of the mildly macabre. (Horror. 8-12)

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Billy Bones
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Sales rank:
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Christopher Lincoln graduated from the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University and spent nearly a decade working as an animator. He credits animation for teaching him how to write, because an animator must learn how to inhabit a character's body and move him in a world of his own. This is his first book for young readers. His website is

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Billy Bones: A Tale from the Secrets Closet 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love your Billy Bones book. Can you make some more Billy Bones books?
booklover27KR More than 1 year ago
i couldnt put the book down! its an amazing book for anyone who likes to know what truly goes on in their closets that they dont know about
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
my son loved this book getting ready to read the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
storiesforchildren More than 1 year ago
BOO! Welcome to the wacky world of the Afterlife in this fantastic debut chapter book from MN Author Christopher Lincoln.

Every family has "skeletons" in their closet, but the Biglum family has a Family of Skeletons (Billy Bones and his parents, Lars and Decette Bones) tucked away in the Secrets Closet at High Manners Mansion. The Bones family guards the locked chests full of all the nasty secrets of the mansion's inhabitants. A young girl by the name of Millicent moves into the mansion and befriends Billy. Millicent's parents recently died, so she was sent to live with her Uncle, Sir Barkley Biglum. He more or less banishes her up to an attic bedroom and has Housekeeper Ms. Primly assign her kitchen duty etc. to earn her keep. When Billy's Uncle Grim (aka the Grim Reaper) shows up for Billy . . . unexpected, unexplainable events take place and huge changes are about to happen to all the residents of High Manners Mansion, alive OR dead! Can you guess what the events are? You will just have to read this terrific book to find out what happens to Billy, Millicent and all the others that dwell in the life of the living and the life of the Afterlife -- all under one roof at High Manners Mansion. Be prepared for plenty of ghosts, skeletons, visions, Oculus, manifestations, specters, et al. And just for good measure, Chris even threw in a pirate and his parrot!

I give this book a high five, and five stars for being such a page-turner with a very unique and twisting plot. I never knew what to expect next, and was almost breathless to the very end of this book! If you like spooky things that are just spooky enough to keep you on the edge of your seat, this is the book for you! I highly recommend this for any age group of children that might be considered reluctant readers even ¿ they won't be able to put this book down ¿ their curiosity as to what happens next will get them! Awesome job, Chris! And, there will be a sequel I am told ¿ I can hardly wait!
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Billy Bones is a skeleton living in the skeleton's closet of High Manners Manor, home of the obsessively greedy Sir Barkley Braggety Biglum VI. Billy's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bones, file and maintain all household secrets. Allowing a secret to escape can be explosive! Billy can't wait till he's trusted to begin training to become a secret's keeper himself. What he doesn't know is that some of those closely guarded secrets are his own.

After the death of her parents, Sir Biglum's niece, Millicent, must move to High Manners Manor, and is forced to live upstairs in the attic. But she is not totally alone. She is visited often by her parents, ghosts from the Afterlife. She is also closely watched by the housekeeper, Miss Hester Primly, who is not a ghost or a skeleton, but is infinitely more frightening.

Millicent, a natural explorer, finds that there are secret passages in the mansion and, as a result, learns she's not the only person living upstairs. Both Millicent and her newfound friend have the uncommon ability to see ghosts. It's not long before Millicent stumbles upon the secrets closet and meets the Bones family.

The secrets in the closet are piling up. The Bones have signed for an unauthorized shipment for Millicent, that has nothing to do with secrets, and which clearly violates rules of the Afterlife. Commissioner Pickerel, from the Investigative Branch of the Righteousness Department, pays them a visit and forces them through a glowing portal to the afterlife.

Without Mr. and Mrs. Bones to keep the mounting secrets organized, filed, and locked away, generations of Biglum secrets begin exploding at an alarming rate. Just as lies pile upon lies, one secret revealed, reveals another, and another. It's up to Billy and Millicent to discover the real truth of High Manners Manor.

BILLY BONES is a delightful, playful book. Christopher Lincoln's creativity is astounding and his knack for description is enviable. I completely enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who's ever wished they could meet a pirate, scare a ghost, or...shhh...tell a secret.