Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Rick Brant #18 Flying Stingaree and #19 Ruby Ray Mystery

In Rick Brant #18, The Flying Stingaree, Rick and Scotty sail aimlessly in their houseboat in Chesapeake Bay with their only goal to visit Steve Ames at his home.  Rick sees a stingaree fly over their boat during a storm, and later, a stranger warns the boys not to be nosy about a certain man.  Of course the boys get involved, sensing a connection between the man and the stingaree, and soon, Steve Ames is just as engrossed in the boys' mystery.

In a bit of cross promotion, Rick asks Ken Holt for help in identifying the man in a photograph.  Likewise, Ken Holt asks Rick Brant for assistance in one of the Ken Holt books.

As with a number of the Rick Brant books, I found this book slow to get started.  The overall pace of the book is slow.  I found the climax of the book to drag a bit too much for my taste.  The events seemed to go on and on.  I enjoyed this book, but not as much as many of the others in the series.

In Rick Brant #19, The Ruby Ray Mystery, Rick and Scotty attend a scientific conference in Europe with Hartson Brant.  While at the conference, Steve Ames contacts the boys, asking them to keep an eye on one of the scientists, Dr. Keller.  He believes that Dr. Keller may be in trouble and wants the boys follow him.  This request leads Rick and Scotty on a harrowing trip across Europe.

On page 5, we learn that the word laser is "made up of the first letters of the phrase 'light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.' "  Nowadays we are so familiar with lasers that the word doesn't need to be defined.

On page 15, the boys use "knapsacks of the kind used by European schoolboys for carrying lunches and books.  The boys had purchased the knapsacks for their own use at home because they were practical and easier to carry than a bag or briefcase."  I do believe that we are talking about backpacks, which must not have been yet in vogue in 1964.

Rick and Scotty come across as full adults in this book, even though they are still described as boys.  The plot of this book is quite sophisticated and also a bit convoluted.  However, the complicated plot does not detract from the story.  This is a thoroughly engaging book.  It is interesting to see how the boys track Keller across Europe.

1 comment:

Roberta Walsh said...

Backpacks have been "in vogue" for a long time. But, back in the day, more people called them knapsacks. In mathematics they still call calculating an item's value-to-weight ratio "the knapsack problem."