Black MariaDiana Wynne Jones
fantasy, young adult
Black Maria is also known as Aunt Maria (US edition).
On the surface, Aunt Maria seems like a cuddly old lady, all chit-chat and lace doilies and unadulterated NICEness! When Mig and her family go for a short visit, they soon learn that Aunt Maria rules the place with a rod of sweetness that's tougher than iron and deadlier than poison.
Life revolves around tea parties, while the men are all grey-suited zombies who fade into the background, and the other children seem like clones. The short visit becomes a long stay, and when all talk of going home ceases, Mig despairs!
Things go from bad to worse when Mig's brother Chris tries to rebel, but is changed into a wolf. Mig is convinced that Aunt Maria must be a witch – but who will believe her? It's up to Mig to figure out what's going on. Maybe the ghost who haunts the downstairs bedroom holds the key?
Diana Wynne Jones (1934–2011) was a British writer, principally of fantasy novels for children and adults, as well as a small amount of non-fiction. Some of her better-known works include the Chrestomanci series and the novels Howl's Moving Castle and Dark Lord of Derkholm.