Just when you thought they didn't write them like that anymore, along comes Dominic Mieville to prove that they do. The Mysterious Burnchester Hall is a retro adventure romp complete with creaky dialogue and teenage protagonists that is so old fashioned it almost falls off the end of the time scale. But it is all good fun, and, once you get past the shock of reading a new novel so covered in cobwebs and dust you wonder if your hands are getting dirty, The Mysterious Burnchester Hall does offer a few guilty pleasures as you wade through its convoluted plot. Modern teenagers will recognise nothing of themselves in the teens who delve into the mystery of Burnchester Hall. Their personalities, relationships with each other and dialogue are from another planet. Tyro and her friend Jess, and their two boy companions, are modern teenagers in name only. This makes The Mysterious Burnchester Hall a false and creaky read right from the word go, but there is something about it that keeps you reading to the end. And then there is the plot to contend with. Burnchester Hall is a school and our four intrepid adventurers discover dastardly goings-on behind the school's locked doors during the summer vacation. Any self-respecting teenager knows that schools are best forgotten during holidays, so the idea that four youngsters would go on campus looking for adventures is stretching the plot line. But parents and even grandparents might remember reading adventure stories set in schools, and this might be why the publishers of The Mysterious Burnchester Hall have brought out two editions of the novel, one with a 'teenage' cover and one with an 'adult' cover. Burnchester Hall, with its cartoon teachers and inevitably grim caretaker is a school caught in a time warp. Innocent students solving the mystery of a school that isn't what it seems to be is a promising storyline, but the false feeling hanging over the book prevents any memorable reader involvement. But once you have got your expectations of what you think The Mysterious Burnchester Hall is going to be out of the way, and approach it with an open mind, the story will carry you along to the end. Mieville's mix of secret societies, spies, abandoned tunnels and impossibly nosey school teenagers is almost Scooby-Doo-like (without the dog) in its innocence. Here is a would-be adventure story with many faults but with enough story momentum to keep you wanting to know what happens next. The Mysterious Burnchester Hall By Dominic Mieville Published by DM Productions ISBN 0 95361612 6 John Millen can be contacted on MillenBookshelf@aol.com .