Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Nancy Drew Clue in the Diary First and Rick Brant Lot Comments

Back in 2014, some first printing Nancy Drew books sold on eBay, detailed in this post.  One of the books was the first printing of The Clue in the Diary with dust jacket.  The purchaser paid $997.56 for the book and put it back up for sale at $3,999.99.  I stated in my blog post, "I'm not sure that I have ever seen the first printing of The Clue in the Diary sell for above $2,500, so I am skeptical as to whether the seller can get that much."

I kept track of the seller's attempts to sell the book, since I did not think the book could be sold for more than $2,500.  It took over a year, but the seller was finally about to sell the book at $1,499.99.  I'm glad that the seller did not take a loss on the book, but with eBay and PayPal fees, it was a very close call.

Back in early February, I bought the complete set of Rick Brant books in the Grosset and Dunlap picture cover edition.  I wrote the following on Facebook on February 7, the day I received the books.
I was the person who won the auction for the expensive complete set of Rick Brant books on eBay nearly one week ago.  I enjoyed the Rick Brant books enough that I would very much like to have copies of the final books.  Now I have #1-23 in the original Grosset and Dunlap edition.  I don't have #24.  I hope to sell all the extras for enough to take my cost for #22 and #23 down to what I consider a reasonable level (albeit not cheap, obviously).

This was a risky transaction, and I am relieved to have the books on hand.  The seller has some negatives, and that was a concern.  I cringed when I saw the box today.  Notice that you can actually see the books through the tape across the middle of the box.  The books were not wrapped, so that tape could have ended up against the books if the package had been damaged.  I also cringed when I opened the box.  Looking at the picture of the box after I opened it, the book at the top left is #23 and the book at the far right is #22.  The books were in there a bit tight. The books are all fine. **Big sigh of relief.**
This is the photo I took of the outside of the box where the books can be seen in the gap between the flaps.

That worried me.  The next photo is what I saw when I opened up the box.  #23 is at the top left and #22 at the far right.  Those are the two valuable books, and of course, they were placed in positions that put them in greater danger of being damaged.  Somehow it always happens that way.

Here are the books after they were removed from the package.  All books arrived undamaged.

I paid $835.05 for this set of books, and that is quite a bit more than I wanted to pay.  I raised my bid amount near the end after I decided that I would be foolish not to go for it.  The goal was to get Danger Below! and The Deadly Dutchman at less than what I would expect to pay by purchasing each individually.  I planned to sell all the extras.  After the extras were sold, then my remaining cost would be what those two books ultimately cost me.

At around the time I bought this set, the original edition of The Deadly Dutchman sold for $305.00.  A reprint of Danger Below! sold for $200.00.  The original edition of Danger Below! is worth more than the reprint.  More recently, two near complete sets of Rick Brant books sold for far less than what I paid for my set, but each set contained just one of the two scarce books.

Of course, if I had bid on either of those two lots, they would have closed at higher prices, possibly much higher.  One can never know for sure what would have happened.  But then, I wouldn't have ended up with both scarce books.

So, how did I do on my lot?  I have now sold all of the extras except for one.  #22 and #23 ended up costing me a total of $369.00, or $184.50 each.  My goal was to pay less than $250.00 per book and hopefully less than $200.00 per book.  I succeeded.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Bret King #7 Comanche Caves, #8 Wolf Creek, and #9 Bandit Gulch

In Bret King #7, The Mystery of the Comanche Caves, Bret and his friends travel to Texas to help Andy's uncle track down some smugglers.

On page 48, Bret and the Rimrockers come across a young boy who is running away from home with his father in hot pursuit.  On page 51, just moments after meeting the Rimrockers, the boy's father agrees to let his son leave for two weeks and travel with the Rimrockers.  This is not logical.

Vic masters judo in one page.  This is also not logical.

Bret is given an amulet by a Chinese tourist.  Later, the amulet is seen by a Chinese man, who provides Bret with a clue because of the amulet.  How convenient.

I skimmed a lot of the text towards the end of the book.

The book is decent but nothing special.

In Bret King #8, The Phantom of Wolf Creek, Bret and the Rimrockers travel to Colorado to help the Conrads figure out who is pitting them against a neighboring rancher.

Church is mentioned on page eight, which, as I previously mentioned, is something that I tend to notice and find interesting. 

I feel like all the boys do in this book is follow tracks here and there, pretty much just like the last book.  In fact, at one point, I recalled an event from the last book and thought that it was in this book.  Later, I realized that I had confused the two stories, which shows how similar they are.

I enjoyed this book, although parts were not that interesting.

In Bret King #9, The Mystery of Bandit Gulch, Tovar is holding a festival that includes reenacting a train's journey into town.  The train's journey is put into jeopardy when the owner of a parcel of land refuses to let the train use the tracks across the property.  Soon, it becomes apparent that someone is after a treasure.

I greatly enjoyed this story.

I wonder if I am the only person who has ever been able to successfully completely ignore Benny's annoying expression, "well, gee my wheeze."  After the early books, the expression did not annoy me in the slightest.  In fact, I almost liked it at times, oddly enough, and in some of the later books, the expression does not appear often.  I found that I kind of missed seeing the expression in those books.

I overall greatly enjoyed this series.  I was bored at some points and had to skim some parts, but overall, the books are very good.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Phyllis Whitney Vanishing Scarecrow and Scowling Boy

In The Vanishing Scarecrow, Joan and her mother go to live on Rainbow Island, where Uncle Agate built an amusement park.  If Joan's mother can manage the park for three years, they will inherit the island.

Something is lacking in this book.  The story idea is interesting, and the setting should have been interesting.  The book didn't grab me, and finally, I began skimming it.  Considering how the story works out, I wish I had found the story more interesting.  It could have been outstanding and had great potential, but everything about it is flat and boring.

The book even has a plot twist, but I cared so little that even the plot twist didn't affect me at all.

In Mystery of the Scowling Boy, Jan and her brother spend the Christmas holiday in Pennsylvania with their grandparents in the mountains near the ski resorts.  Jan soon learns that Alanna Steven, her favorite actress, is staying in a house just below them on the mountain.  Jan's dream is to become an actress, so she yearns to become acquainted with Alana.

Jan soon learns that some mystery surrounds Alana and her son.  Their house is gloomy, and the others staying with them are unfriendly and suspicious of Jan and her brother.

I didn't like how Jo refused to defend herself while facing accusations.  My biggest problem in books is when characters hide things from each other.  I lost patience with Jo when she refused to tell what really happened.  Sure, they wouldn't have believed her, but she didn't even try.

Once the adults knew the truth, I began to greatly enjoy the story.  The last part of the book is excellent.

The last two Phyllis Whitney books that I read were Secret of Haunted Mesa and Secret of the Stone Face.  I did not write reviews of those books when I read them due to lack of motivation, which as I have explained before sometimes happens to me.  Since I am placing this post into the queue to be published around two months after I read the books, I am not interested in writing up reviews.  I recall that I did overall greatly enjoy both books. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Bret King #5 Blizzard Mesa and #6 Fort Pioneer

In Bret King #5, The Mystery at Blizzard Mesa, New Mexico is having an unusually hard winter.  The Navajo are snowed in, and Bret volunteers to help with the airlift of hay and supplies to the Navajo reservation.  Meanwhile, Ace's uncle has been framed for the theft of valuable jewelry, and the boys seek clues to exonerate him.

On page 74, Bret tells a Navajo, "I don't think anything is crazy that good people sincerely believe in."  I like that quote, and it's too bad that most people don't have that kind of respect for what others believe.

This book has a lot of sabotage, which has become typical of the Bret King books.  However, the sabotage is written well and is consistently quite interesting.

This is an excellent book.  I greatly enjoyed it.

In Bret King #6, The Secret of Fort Pioneer, a movie is being filmed at Fort Pioneer and in the vicinity.  The set is being sabotaged, and one of the actors openly threatens Bret and his friends.

This book is a sabotage book that reminds me rather strongly of the modern Nancy Drew books.  It is quite similar to Nancy Drew Diaries #10, A Script for Danger.  That's not a compliment.  However, while weak, the book is much better than the Nancy Drew Diaries book.

The scenes transition way too fast from one to the next throughout this story.  In fact, the book reads like a Nancy Drew revised text book that was poorly revised.  Sadly, this choppy text is the original and only text.

A lot of the events in this book are a bit stupid.

One of the villains is so extremely obvious, since he openly threatens Bret and his friends over and over again throughout the book.  Of course, he works in the movie, just like the villain in another book I could mention.

I noted that church is mentioned in this book on page 80 and 150.  Church had not been previously mentioned in the Bret King series.  I tend to notice this since mentioning church became a staple of Grosset and Dunlap books in the middle part of the 1960s, and it's interesting that church was not mentioned in this series until the sixth title.

This book is okay but not that great.  I had to skim parts of it.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

More Books Listed on Bonanza

Today I listed 47 books for sale on Bonanza.

Jennifer's Series Books on Bonanza

The majority of the books are Nancy Drew books with dust jackets. I also listed some Dana Girls and Nancy Drew picture cover books.  Change the sort to "newest" to see the books that were just listed.

I also have books listed on eBay.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Phyllis Whitney Crimson Ghost and Missing Footprint

In The Mystery of the Crimson Ghost, Janey wants a horse of her own more than anything.  Her parents cannot afford to buy her a horse, and her father gets annoyed each time Janey talks about her desire.  Janey's family is spending the summer on a lake in New Jersey, and Mrs. Burley, who lives across the lake, owns a beautiful horse.  Janey hopes to get a chance to ride the horse, but Janey's aunt was responsible for injuring the horse.

I wasn't very interested in the book at the very beginning, but gradually, I became thoroughly engaged.

The part about Aunt Viv injuring the horse bothered me.  It seemed that Aunt Viv felt that Mrs. Burley should have already gotten over it, since Viv paid the vet bills and did everything she could.  I was thinking about how I would feel if I had a horse that I considered valuable, if a neighbor had ridden the horse without my permission, and if that neighbor had caused the horse to be injured where it would never completely recover.  I'd still be upset even after the vet bills had been paid.

Aside from my discomfiture about Aunt Viv's attitude about the horse, I greatly enjoyed this story.

In Secret of the Missing Footprint, Marcie's parents have decided to travel in Europe—without Marcie!  Marcie is forced to stay with Uncle Evan and his wife, and she feels that they don't want her.  Marcie is full of resentment, and soon, she is drawn to Timothy, a resentful boy who lives next door.

Marcie is mesmerized by Timothy.  Both of them have been abandoned by their parents, so she can relate to him.  He is troubled, and Marcie allows herself to get pulled into Timothy's scheme, which is to hurt their families.  Too late, Marcie realizes that Timothy's scheme is wrong, and she suffers the consequences.

This is an excellent book.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Bret King #3 Range Rodeo and #4 Rawhide Gap

In Bret King #3, The Range Rodeo Mystery, the Tovar Range Rodeo is to be revived.  Both Rimrock Ranch and nearby Carrington Ranch have proposed prime locations for the rodeo.  Soon, the Rimrock crew realizes that Carrington will stop at nothing to win the competition for the rodeo site.

Basically, this story is about sabotage like so many modern Nancy Drew books.  Since I had just read the tenth Nancy Drew Diaries book, this stood out.  In contrast, these older series books that feature sabotage do that type of plot so well, making the story very interesting.  It's how the modern books should do it, but instead, they make it bland and uninteresting.

On page 46, a large group of visitors go back to the ranch for cake and refreshments.  I've often wondered how the mothers in these series deal with all these unexpected visitors arriving to consume large amounts of food.  It's not like they know ahead of time that all these people will arrive, yet somehow, they always have cakes and other desserts available.

The rodeo occurs in most of two chapters.  I skimmed a lot of those chapters, since I wasn't interested in the detailed descriptions of each event.

Benny's songs annoy me.  In fact, the songs annoy me while Benny's pet expression "gee my wheeze" no longer does.  I am now able to ignore "gee my wheeze" like it's regular conversation.

Jinx is a strong character in these books.  She is sixteen and makes decisions on her own, decisions that drive parts of the plot forward.  I like seeing a strong girl in a boys' series.  In fact, for both boys' and girls' series, I prefer seeing a mixture of both genders helping to drive the plot forward.

I greatly enjoyed this book.

In Bret King #4, The Mystery of Rawhide Gap, the boys plan to stay in the old ghost town of Rawhide Gap to help Jack Dullion look for proof that his great-great-great uncle did not commit a stagecoach robbery.  While in the ghost town, the boys become aware of a plot against a nearby government site and suspect that some of the tourists might be connected to the plot.

I smiled when sabotage was mentioned on page 10.  In these old books, the story is so creative that the sabotage is usually very interesting.

I love the strong girls in this series.  On page 121, the girls' tent has collapsed, and they try to set it back up without asking the boys to help them.

"Gee my wheeze" now reads like any other text to me.  It's like when George uses "hypers" in the Nancy Drew books.  I now do not find "gee my wheeze" to be even slightly annoying. 

This is an excellent book.  I read it quickly and enjoyed every bit of it.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Phyllis Whitney Angry Idol and Goblin Glen

In Mystery of the Angry Idol, Jan Pendleton stays with her grandmother and great-grandmother in Mystic, Connecticut.  Jan finds both Neil, who lives next door, and Patrick, who lives in Jan's grandmother's house, to be very annoying.

Jan becomes acquainted with her great-grandmother, Miss Althea, and learns about Miss Althea's jade collection.  One piece, called "Old Fang-Tooth," is ugly and hated by Miss Althea.  She can't get rid of it since her father gave it to her.  A mystery surrounds Old Fang-Tooth, and Jan decides that she will be the one to solve it.

I found this book kind of annoying.  I enjoyed the overall story, but several characters got on my nerves.  I had to skim parts of the book.

In Secret of Goblin Glen, Trina is spending the summer with friends of her parents in a town in New Hampshire.  Trina's Great-uncle Will Horst robbed a bank many years ago, and the stolen money has never been found.  Trina soon learns that she is unwelcome, so she decides to try to make amends by finding the stolen money.

This is an excellent story.  I found it very interesting from the very beginning, and the book held my attention all the way through.  I did not skim this book.  I read it very quickly, and the faster I read a book, the more I like it.

The book has a plot twist that occurs partway through the story, which makes it all the more interesting.