Deep and Dark and Dangerous

   Deep and Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn

Just before summer begins, 13-year-old Ali finds an odd photograph in the attic. She knows the two children in it are her mother, Claire, and her aunt Dulcie. But who’s the third person, the one who’s been torn out of the picture?

Ali figures she’ll find out while she’s vacationing in Maine with Dulcie and her four-year-old daughter, Emma, in the house where Ali’s mother’s family used to spend summers. All hopes for relaxation are quashed shortly after their arrival, though, when the girls meet Sissy, a kid who’s mean and spiteful and a bad influence on Emma.

Strangest of all, Sissy keeps talking about a girl named Teresa who drowned under mysterious circumstances back when Claire and Dulcie were kids, and whose body was never found. At first Ali thinks Sissy’s just trying to scare her with a ghost story, but soon she discovers the real reason why Sissy is so angry. . . . Mary Downing Hahn is at her chilling best in this new supernatural tale that’s certain to send shivers down her readers’ spines.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why does Ali feel that her mother is so protective? Are Claire’s attitude toward Ali and her nervous health issues a foreshadowing?
  2. Why is Emma so lonely and worried about being alone? Compare her concerns with Ali’s.
  3. Why is it so hard for Ali to like Sissy? What emotions might be involved?
  4. Whom do you think realizes the truth about Sissy first? Why? What issues and attitudes does Ali have to overcome to see Sissy clearly?
  5. Why is Claire so relieved to know that the truth will finally be told? Why is Dulcie?
  6. How did Sissy’s own actions and attitudes contribute to what happened? Does Sissy realize this?
  7. How do you think the following relationships will be after the events of the story: Ali and Claire; Emma and Dulcie; Claire and Dulcie.
  8. This book has many scary moments. Which part of the book did you find most frightening? Why?
  9. Do you believe in ghosts? Why or why not? Did this book affect your thoughts on ghosts in one way or another? Explain.
  10. Were you afraid of ghosts of other scary things when you were younger that you're not afraid of now? What were you afraid of? How did you overcome your fear?
  11. Do you like scary stories, TV shows, and movies? Why or why not? Explain your reasons.