I am attempting to identify a short book I read when I was young (around the 1990s). From what I remember the plot, or at least the beginning went as such:

A young boy was in a military camp, I seem to recall it being a French army, it was either hot or in the desert and the young boy would spend time with the soldiers swimming. His father, I believe being an officer, had told him not to do this. In one instance where the boy was about to be caught he ran from the pool / swimming area naked with the soldiers laughing at the spectacle.

I believe the young boy hid down a well and during this time discovered a door at the bottom. He went through the door to discover a large library of books in the room. After a short while of investigating the door slammed shut as someone else escaped the room. Over time the boy begins to become invisible and is unable to leave, with the boy's father trying in vain to find him.

I believe that with the room one could only leave the library if someone else came in. I don't fully recall the ending of the book.

  • Welcome to the site! This is the start of a good ID question, but take a look at Guidelines for Good Story ID Questions to see if there is anything else that you add to give our user the best chance at helping you!
    – Skooba
    Apr 11, 2023 at 13:36

2 Answers 2


The Naked Ghost by Paul Jennings

It was the answer to scifi.stackexchange.com question.

Front cover of The Naked Ghost

The Naked Ghost tells the story of a boy who goes down a well, after a legend of another boy who disappears down the same well. He finds the boy, as a naked ghost, and through events, they trade clothes. When they trade clothes, the boy becomes "The Naked Ghost", and is left trapped in the room at the bottom of the well for 50 years.

Another boy happens to find the room at the bottom of the well, after another 50 years, and the protagonist is able to trade places with him, much in the same way that he traded places with the original ghost. The story ends on comments that suggest that the boy has come out of his 50 year wait, into the present day.

  • Please edit your answer to be explicit about how it matches the question's description
    – bobble
    Apr 13, 2023 at 23:02

School Spirits By Micheal O. Tunnell

It has the school, trapped, trading places parts. But it's more ghost oriented. Published in 1997. Warning: the cover art is spooky!

Front cover of School Spirits

Summary from Kirkus Reviews:

In 1958, Patrick is new in town, where his father is taking over the principalship of a school that looks ``like Dracula's castle.'' In the school library Patrick discovers the ghost of Barnaby (nicknamed Barney), the young son of a former principal, who mysteriously disappeared in 1920. With the help of new friend Nairen and town bully Marion, as well as some supernatural manipulation by Barnaby, Patrick finds out what happened to the ghost and settles his unquiet spirit. Barnaby's rather gruesome death and Patrick's testy relationship with his consistently obstructive father are jarringly serious elements in an otherwise lightly spooky chiller. The mystery, with a few standard red herrings and some obvious telegraphing, will appeal to fans of mild horror, and the ending hints at a sequel, if not a series.

  • I don't think this fits: it's set in a school and the boy's father is the principal, rather than a desert military camp where the boy's father is an officer.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Apr 11, 2023 at 16:30

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