This is a Bantam Skylark book.
The Curse of the Blue Figurine is the first in the series of Johnny Dixion books by John Bellairs.
Set in 1950s Massachusetts, Johnny Dixon is living with his grandparents while his father is off fighting in the war. He befriends his neighbor, Professor Childermass, and life seems to be going smoothly between school, chess games with the professor and listening to his favorite radio programs. The professor has told Johnny a story about a wicked priest that haunts his church, but Johnny thinks little of it...at first.
One day, while trying to avoid a school bully, Johnny sets off into the basement of his church and discovers a statue and a note that seem connected to the priest the professor told him about. He takes it home with him to further investigate it. One day at church, Johnny meets an unusual man who listens to Johnny's story of the blue figurine, and encourages him to use to to fight off his fears of the school bully....and only too late does Johnny realize what he has done...
This was a good book. It was the first in the Johnny Dixon series, so it isn't my favorite (no Fergie yet!), but still has a good scare factor. If you are a fan of John Bellairs previous work, you will enjoy this one!