Friday, October 1, 2010

The Adventurous Allens Find Mystery

As I read the last couple of chapters of the first book in this series, The Adventurous Allens, I felt like the content was filler in order to increase the length of the book. The interesting part of the book ended with Chapter 18, and I was not much interested in the events that transpired during Chapters 19 and 20.

The early Beverly Gray books have similar filler content, and I know that the A. L. Burt Company asked Clair Blank to increase the length of her manuscripts. I assume that a similar request was made of Harriet Pyne Grove with respect to the first book in this series.

I was uninterested in the final two chapters until just a few pages before the end of the story, when I sensed that something interesting was about to happen. The Adventurous Allens quite literally leads directly into the second book, The Adventurous Allens Find Mystery. The Adventurous Allens ends as follows:
Philip helped down an excited Marjorie, who ran like Jimmy, to the porch. But something came over Nancy, who put her hands to her face and cried softly, with a sob or two, reaching for her handkerchief in a moment, while Philip, who had started with his keys, came back to pat her on her shoulder in silent understanding. Then he joined the others, springing up the steps to unlock the door.

And beyond that locked door lay discovery, such discovery as led to further undreamed of adventures for the Adventurous Allens.
This is the beginning of the second book, The Adventurous Allens Find Mystery:
Almost too greatly surprised to believe in their good fortune, the four Adventurous Allens stood at the door of what had long been denominated by their uncle as his "Michigan Shack," while Philip, now the actual legal proprietor, tried to fit a key in the lock. It was well, perhaps, that none of them knew all which would attend their present adventure; but their anticipation was as keen as their surprise was pleasing.
The Adventurous Allens step out of the first book and right into the second. It is not too often that consecutive volumes in a series end and begin during the same moment.

The Adventurous Allens, Philip, Nancy, Jimmy, and Marjorie, just spent their entire summer traveling in two delivery vans. Now that summer is over, they have arrived at their uncle's cabin on Lake Superior in Michigan. Much to their surprise, they find a very nice two-story log cabin that is fully furnished. The Allens had not expected a place nearly so nice, or they would have come to the cabin before traveling west in the delivery vans.

The Allens plan to make the cabin their new home, although the trouble of finances still weighs heavily upon Philip and Nancy. They are not certain how long they will have enough money to maintain the cabin, but for now, they have a nice place to live.

The young people soon learn that the cabin is reputedly haunted, and Marjorie thinks she sees a glimpse of the "Green Lady" shortly after their arrival. The others assume that Marjorie is mistaken, but Marjorie continues to think that she did indeed see something. Later, Jimmy sees a strange intruder, and wonders whether Marjorie was right. The Allens learn of a missing girl and deduce that their mysterious intruder could be that person.

I find it refreshing that the Allens quickly make the connection between their ghost and the missing girl. Many of the Stratemeyer Syndicate books have missing individuals who turn out to be people who appear in the story. Yet in the Syndicate books, the author pretends that no connection exists, until shockingly, the connection is revealed near the end. I like how the Allens are smart enough to see the connection fairly quickly. My intelligence is insulted each time I read a book in which the author pretends that a ghost has nothing to do with a missing person known to be in the vicinity. Thank you, Harriet Pyne Grove!

The openness as to who the ghost likely is does not take away from the suspense of the book. Sure, we know that the ghost will turn out to be the girl, but we would have known that anyway even if the author had the characters act stupid about it. The mystery is still compelling because we do not know the girl's story or exactly where she has been hiding.

This book has the same errors as the first book, with extra quotation marks, omitted quotation marks, and misspelled words. I had a few instances of not quite understanding what I was reading and kept going rather than trying to figure it out.

A big problem with Grove's books is that important explanatory information is left out. For instance, on page 18, the young people find their uncle's boat and discuss going for a ride in it. They get in the boat, but nothing is mentioned about taking off. It is not until the end of page 19 that I figured out that the Allens are already on the lake in the boat. I was disoriented by thinking they were talking at the dock before taking off to discovering that they were well en route.

Despite minor annoyances with not quite understanding parts of the text, I enjoyed this second Adventurous Allens book even more than I did the first book. This book had no boring parts, except perhaps some of the story at the very beginning. Once I got into the story, the plot developed nicely, and I greatly enjoyed the story.

The Allens come into possession of a yacht partway through the book. The yacht is described to be "a thirty-eight-foot family cruiser." Wow-whee! Guess what the Allens decide to do? Why take a cruise, of course! Now onward to The Adventurous Allens Afloat.

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