On page 17, Bob remarks, "My Dad says collectors'll do anything to get what they want." This is even true of series book collectors. Unfortunately, a few are very shady, especially when they sell books.
On page 17, the crooked cat is described as follows.
It was a stuffed cat almost three feet long, striped red and black. Its legs were all twisted, and the body was crooked like a Z. Its mouth was open showing sharp, white teeth, and one ear drooped sharply down. There was only one wild red eye, and a jeweled red collar. It was the wildest, most crooked-looking cat they had ever seen.I want one!
I enjoyed this book.
On page 100 Jupiter announces that the dragon cannot be real, like there was any doubt. Obviously the dragon is fake because it is a mythological creature. I knew that the dragon was fake before I began reading the book. That's part of the problem with this book. The mystery is a bit shaky and is clearly ripped off from #5 The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure.
This book was written by Kin Platt under the pseudonym, Nick West. Platt borrowed parts of the plot of Vanishing Treasure for this book. He changed gnomes, which are mythological creatures, to a dragon. Both books have something that vanishes. In one book, the missing object is a golden belt, and in the other, dogs are missing. Without getting into specifics, the real mystery in both books is exactly the same.
Take a look at the first page of the two books. The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure is on the left, and The Mystery of the Coughing Dragon is on the right. Remember that you can click on the image to see a larger version.
Even though parts have been changed, the similarity is striking.
I found the story in this book not to be very believable. The whole thing with the dragon seemed silly. I found it odd that they let the culprit go on the promise that he would return the gold. Normally, culprits get arrested in books even if when they don't manage to finish committing the crime.
While I overall enjoyed this book, I found it a bit weak, and the silliness of the plot reminded me a lot of the higher-numbered titles from the original 56 Nancy Drew books.