Sunday, September 23, 2018

Trixie Belden #25 The Sasquatch Mystery and #26 The Mystery of the Headless Horseman

In Trixie Belden #25, The Sasquatch Mystery, the Bob-Whites and Miss Trask are camping in the woods of Idaho with Hallie, Cap, and Knut Belden.  One evening, the campers spot a very tall creature near camp, a creature that might be the sasquatch!  When Cap Belden vanishes, the Bob-Whites fear that the sasquatch has taken him.

This is a good book, but it isn't as good as it should have been.  I feel that the story could have been more compelling.  Perhaps the problem is simply that I knew that the sasquatch could not possibly be real, so I never felt much suspense.

In Trixie Belden #26, The Mystery of the Headless Horseman, Diana's butler, Harrison, disappears, just before a charity event that he is to help run for the Bob-Whites.  Trixie and Honey follow a trail of clues and discover Harrison locked in the basement of Sleepyside Hollow.  Strangely, Harrison insists that he accidentally locked himself in the basement, when there is no possible way he could have bolted it from the outside.  Trixie begins to suspect that Harrison is guilty of a crime, which puts a strain on her relationship with Di.

This story is interesting since it mimics plot points from Trixie Belden #4, The Mysterious Visitor, as well as some of the other Julie Campbell titles.  In fact, page 149 refers to "Harrison's mysterious visitors."

Like in The Mysterious Visitor, Trixie and Di's relationship is strained because Trixie suspects someone close to Di of being guilty of a crime.  Harrison has a prominent role in both stories.

I also noticed that Trixie and Honey hide in the hayloft of an abandoned barn just like they do in The Red Trailer Mystery.  Last, Reddy causes lots of trouble just like he does in the Julie Campbell books.

This book is excellent.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Trixie Belden #23 Mystery of the Queen's Necklace and #24 Mystery at Saratoga

In Trixie Belden #23, The Mystery of the Queen's Necklace, Honey has a necklace that has been passed down through the Hart branch of her family.  The Bob-Whites travel to England with Miss Trask to help research the history of the necklace.  Trixie soon notices that a pickpocket keeps following them around.  She suspects that the pickpocket is after the necklace.  Trixie is soon suspicious of everyone, including the knowledgeable and affable guide.

In this story, London said to be the sixth largest city in the world, and this was in 1979.  I knew London couldn't be anywhere near that high on the list now.  I checked, and London is now #29 on one list and #42 on another.

As the Bob-Whites visit the sites, they end up on Baker Street at 221B.  I am glad that Sherlock Holmes is said to be fictional, unlike the nonsense in The Mystery on the Mississippi when the Bob-Whites act like all of Mark Twain's characters were real.

The book is good but is not one that I enjoy very much.  The book is too much of a travelogue for me.

In Trixie Belden #24, The Mystery at Saratoga, Regan has disappeared!  He left shortly after the arrival of Mr. Worthington, who races valuable horses.  Trixie investigates and learns that Regan once worked for Worthington and was suspected of doping a horse.  Trixie is devastated, but her intuition tells her that Regan is innocent.  Trixie and Honey stay with the Wheelers at Saratoga as they search for Regan and try to find a way to prove his innocence.

This book has way too much history and information about horses.  I skimmed those parts.

The parts of the story that focus on Regan are pretty good.

Trixie and Honey meet a woman who once cared about Regan.  I find it rather strange that she also calls him Regan instead of using his first name, Bill.

I skimmed the last part of the story.  The book is good, but I do not care for it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Trixie Belden #21 Mystery of the Castaway Children and #22 Mystery at Mead's Mountain

In Trixie Belden #21, The Mystery of the Castaway Children, the Beldens find a baby in Reddy's doghouse.  The entire family and all of the Bob-Whites immediately fall in love with the baby and take turns caring for it.  The Bob-Whites are distressed that the baby has bruises and are concerned for its welfare.  They begin searching for the family.

I have never liked this book, and I still do not like it.  I read some of it, skimmed to the middle, then I quit reading.

In Trixie Belden #22, The Mystery at Mead's Mountain, the Bob-Whites visit a mountain resort that Mr. Wheeler and a partner intend to develop.  The Bob-Whites are to make a report of what they like and what can be improved.  Trixie is soon involved in a mystery after Honey's watch vanishes.  The lights go out unexpectedly, and Trixie receives several ominous warning notes.

This mystery is set up more like the typical Nancy Drew mystery in that Trixie receives warning notes.  By having the mystery driven by warning notes, it isn't that much of a mystery and more of a case of trying to figure out which residents of the inn are the culprits.

The Bob-Whites plan a New Years' Eve party.  On page 185, Honey suggests that Miss Trask recite some Robert Frost poetry at the party.  Miss Trask doesn't want to do it, but the Bob-Whites "[clamor] so much that she could hardly say no."  Say what?  This sounds a bit strange for a group of teenagers to be so enthusiastic about a poetry reading at a party.

This is a very good book.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Creating a Bulk Lot + More Books Listed

I generally obtain the Nancy Drew picture cover books I sell from various lots of books that I purchase online.  I end up with way too many extras of some books, as can be seen in this picture.

At the moment, I have more copies of The Moonstone Castle Mystery than any other title.  Several other titles are not far behind in quantity.  I use bulk lots to rid myself of some of those multiple extras.  I also use the bulk lots to dispose of books that are in particularly bad shape or that are not books that I wish to try to sell individually.  Any extra flashlight editions or matte books with double oval endpapers always go into the bulk lots.

When I select books for the bulk lots, I tend to select ones that might be somewhat less desirable than my other extras.  Sometimes I will pick books that have more writing inside or that have split bindings.  For The Moonstone Castle Mystery, I selected my two extras that have the yellow band at the top of the front cover.  I seem to have more trouble selling copies with the yellow band than ones that do not have it.

I spent at least 30 minutes today gathering books for two bulk lots that I listed on eBay.  These are the books that were culled for the bulk lots.

Sometimes the bulk lots sell quickly, but often, the lots take at least a couple of months to sell.  The right person has to come along, and that takes time.

I also moved some of my boys' books from Etsy to eBay.  I find that I have more luck selling girls' series books on Etsy than I do boys' series books.  I'm not sure whether that means that more women follow my listings or whether more women use Etsy.  I suspect the latter, since boys' series books sell fine for me on eBay.

The Golden Boys books are the ones that I moved to eBay.  I replaced them with Dana Girls books from the white spine picture cover series.  The Golden Boys books still had close to two months left in the listing duration, and I did not wish to lose that portion, so I turned them into Dana Girls listings.  This means that someone who had faved one of my Golden Boys books now has a Dana Girls book in their favorite items list.

I also listed the remainder of the Dana Girls books as new listings on Etsy.  To see all of the white spine Dana Girls books, go to the Dana Girls picture covers category and scroll down, since some are listed lower on the page due to their conversion from the Golden Boys listings.

I also listed several of my Augusta Seaman books on eBay.  The books are good, but they are ones that I will not likely ever want to read again, so I want to give someone else a chance to read them.  Also, I am always short on shelf space.

Jennifer's Series Books on eBay

Jennifer's Series Books on Etsy

By the way, the Golden Boys series is quite good.  If you are someone who likes the boys' books of the 1920s and 1930s, then you will enjoy the Golden Boys series.

Trixie Belden #19 Secret of the Unseen Treasure and #20 Mystery Off Old Telegraph Road

In Trixie Belden #19, The Secret of the Unseen Treasure, Mrs. Elliot struggles to make ends meet.  Her stepson, Max, helps her run the family's farm.  Meanwhile, social security checks have been stolen along Glen Road, but Mrs. Elliot's check was not stolen, since she has it sent straight to the bank.  Trixie suspects that Max is up to no good, and she wonders if Max is involved with the stolen checks, since he had advised Mrs. Elliot to have her checks sent to the bank.

This book was published in 1977.  On page 163, Jim remarks that a number of states are considering legalizing marijuana.  Hmm.  This surprised me since the legalization of marijuana is a current issue.

Oregon, Alaska, and Maine decriminalized marijuana during the 1970s.  New Mexico had a brief medical marijuana program in 1978.  However, the first state to legalize medical marijuana was California in 1996, 19 years after this book was published.  This shows how slowly things change.  It's interesting that this book centers around a topic that is still relevant today.

On page 185, it is stated that a certain person will not likely go to jail since it cannot be proved that they planted the marijuana.  This is silly.  That's why the laws were written so that possession of marijuana is illegal, so who planted the marijuana is a moot point.

This is an excellent book.

In Trixie Belden #20, The Mystery Off Old Telegraph Road, the Bob-Whites plan a bike-a-thon to benefit the art department of Sleepyside Junior-Senior High School.  Strangely, one of the art students, Nick, seems to be against the bike-a-thon.  Honey's visiting cousin, Ben Riker, makes fun of the bike-a-thon in front of other students.  Soon, the Bob-Whites receive warning messages telling them not to have the bike-a-thon.  Trixie suspects that someone is hiding criminal activity that is occurring somewhere near the path of the bike-a-thon.

On page 151, Honey talks about Ben's silly pranks, including making calls to Honey's home, which is the Manor House, and asking whether he was speaking to "Man or House."  He would then demand to know which one.

I have a similar story.  When I was young, people would make prank phone calls to my house.  They would ask if they had reached the White House.  After receiving an affirmative answer, they would ask to speak to the President.  Of course that prank quit working pretty quickly, since we learned not to fall into the trap.

This is also an excellent book.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Trixie Belden #17 Mystery of the Uninvited Guest and #18 Mystery of the Phantom Grasshopper

In Trixie Belden #17, The Mystery of the Uninvited Guest, Trixie's cousin, Hallie, comes to visit, and Trixie is furious.  Trixie and Hallie have never gotten along, and Trixie takes offense at everything Hallie does.  Meanwhile, Bobby acts strangely, talking about a wheelchair that only he saw on Glen Road, and food keeps disappearing out of the Beldens' kitchen.  As Trixie tries to puzzle out the mysterious events, she helps the Wheelers plan the wedding of Jim's cousin, Juliana.

On page 53, Bobby says that he doesn't have a bike.  This is strange, since Bobby has a new bicycle in Trixie Belden and the Marshland Mystery.

I have read this book at least twice before.  I seem to recall that I did not like it very much.  On this reading, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Hallie always annoyed me, but this time I found Trixie's behavior towards Hallie to be far more annoying than Hallie herself.

This book is very interesting from start to finish and held my attention well.  This is an excellent story.

In Trixie Belden #18, The Mystery of the Phantom Grasshopper, Hoppy the weather vane disappears from its perch above city hall.  Trixie has always loved the weather vane and is upset that it has vanished.  Later, a valuable coin collection also vanishes from a school classroom.  Trixie fears that Miss Lawler and her friend, Sammy, may be responsible for the coin theft.  Trixie really likes Miss Lawler and fears that she is guilty.

On page 15 the word "pixilated" is used.  This is not the same word as "pixelated," which is used to describe photos that have been blown up large enough to show the pixels.  "Pixilated" describes a person who is crazy, confused, or mentally unbalanced.

Sammy calls Miss Lawler "Cis," but Trixie hears "sis," not knowing that it is a name.  The reader knows, because of the spelling.  Later, an awkward scene occurs when Sammy is referred to as Miss Lawler's brother, which upsets her.  This part of the plot is unnecessary and obnoxious.  It's obnoxious because the reader sees the name spelled correctly and never thinks what Trixie does.  I recall finding it confusing the first time I ever read this book.

Additionally, the two culprits use songs with "Louis" in the title to send each other messages about whether to pick something up on Louis Road.  One culprit calls the radio station all day long with requests for one song so that his partner would know what to do.  When plans change, he uses another song.  This is a bit stupid, especially considering that having a radio station play songs with "Louis" in the title draws more attention to the situation than using some other method of communication.  How about just putting a message in a hollow oak or something?

The two plot points mentioned above are likely why I never enjoyed this book.  They bothered me.  This time I was able to ignore those parts and ended up thoroughly enjoying the book.  This is a very good to excellent story.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Trixie Belden #15 Mystery on the Mississippi and #16 Mystery of the Missing Heiress

In Trixie Belden #15, The Mystery on the Mississippi, the Bob-Whites travel to St. Louis, where Trixie discovers a mystery immediately.  Trixie finds papers in the wastebasket of her motel room.  Later, she learns that a man was looking for some papers, but she keeps them.  This starts a sequence of events where three people stay in constant pursuit of the Bob-Whites and try to kill Trixie.  Even when the authorities learn about the case and warn Trixie away from it, she continues her investigation with no thought for her own safety.

Dan is present in this story, but Di is away on vacation.

This really wouldn't be much of a story except for Trixie's mistakes that put her in constant danger.

I don't get much out of all of the Mark Twain and Tom Sawyer references.  It is odd that the Bob-Whites speak of Twain's characters as though they are actual historical figures.  The Bob-Whites act like they are visiting the actual places where Twain's characters lived and breathed.

The Mark Twain references are so strong that I have to wonder whether this was an attempt to get children to purchase Whitman's Mark Twain reprints.

This book is unusual in that the villains attempt to kill Trixie—and attempt to kill her more than once.

I have always really liked this book.  The part I no longer enjoy is everything having to do with Mark Twain and his literary characters.

In Trixie Belden #16, The Mystery of the Missing Heiress, Jim discovers that he has a cousin, Juliana, who will inherit $150,000 from the sale of some land on the Hudson River.  When Juliana arrives, she is a bit distant and wants to close the sale of the land as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, a girl was struck by an automobile on Glen Road.  The girl has amnesia, and everyone calls her Janie.  The Beldens have Janie come home to stay with them, and Trixie tries to figure out who Janie really is.

The mystery in this book is extremely obvious.  I don't remember whether I guessed it when young, but I certainly would have guessed it on this reading if I hadn't already read the book before.

Dan is present in this book.

This is an excellent story.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Half-Penny Adventure, Mystery of the Other House, and Vanishing Octant Mystery by Augusta Seaman

In The Half-Penny Adventure, Eunice and her new friend, Barbara, help Eunice's Uncle Robert on his newspaper.  The girls became acquainted after Barbara's brother was killed in the war.  Eunice and Barbara chance to meet Elsie and her brother, who are staying with William Clagmore, a sworn enemy of Uncle Robert.  Elsie wears a half-penny coin as a necklace, and Uncle Robert also owns a half-penny.  Elsie is secretive about her coin.

Meanwhile, Elsie warns the girls that Clagmore is planning to seek revenge against Uncle Robert.  After Uncle Robert is incapacitated from a mysterious fall, the girls have to keep his newspaper running.

During a meal, each person gets a small pat of butter, which is said to be an extravagance during the war.

This is an excellent book.

In Mystery of the Other House, Susan becomes friends with Detta, who lives across the street.  An elderly boarder lives on one floor of Detta's house, and this man has mysterious visitors at all times of the day.

This is another story about what might have happened to the lost dauphin of France.  As soon as I realized that this story is about the dauphin, I began skimming it.  I am not interested in those stories.  As I have previously mentioned, I prefer the Seaman stories that are completely fictitious.  Aside from that, this is still a good story, although it does not appeal to me.

In The Vanishing Octant Mystery, Posy and her family spend the summer on the shore of New Jersey.  Soon after their arrival, Posy spots an old octant on the shore, but it is swept back into the ocean.  The octant disappears and reappears several times.  Posy's father hopes to obtain it for his museum, and others are soon after it as they recognize the possible value.

I find the last paragraph in the dust jacket summary to be quite interesting.
Augusta Huiell Seaman has lived on the Jersey coast for many years and has discovered many unusual treasures washed up on the ocean beaches by storms, but the navigator's octant bearing the inscription, "Tower Hill, London, April 1778", is one of her most unusual finds.  THE VANISHING OCTANT MYSTERY is her forty-first mystery story for girls, and her own interesting solution to its history.
The octant featured in this story is based on one that Seaman actually owned.  I wonder what happened to Seaman's octant?

The Vanishing Octant Mystery is a strong conclusion to Seaman's writing career.  Seaman died in 1950, the year after this book was published.  This is an excellent story.