Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Brains Benton #5 Waltzing Mouse and #6 Painted Dragon

In Brains Benton #5, The Case of the Waltzing Mouse, Brains and Jimmy travel to the lake for a two-week vacation.  Before their departure, the boys make the acquaintance of a professor who owns a menagerie of animals.  He ends up at the lake as well, and soon the boys learn that someone is after the professor's money!  The boys do their best to help the professor.

Like with volume 4, I found Brains unnecessarily condescending towards Jimmy in this book.  He makes snide remarks about how unobservant or unintelligent Jimmy is.  Brains has always had an air of superiority, but it was either near the level of what we see in Jupiter Jones or just slightly more than Jupiter's for the first three books.  In both volumes 4 and 5, Brains is insufferable.

In Brains Benton #6, The Case of the Painted Dragon, Brains and Jimmy become friends with a Japanese boy named Mikko who begins attending their school.  Several men follow Mikko around town, and the boys become concerned.  They learn that these men are after a valuable pearl necklace that Mikko's Japanese relatives badly need.  Brains and Jimmy follow slim clues in hopes of finding the necklace.

This book is the same size as the other books and has about the same number of pages.  However, the text is noticeably smaller, which makes the story a good bit longer than the other books.

Jimmy makes so many mistakes in this book.  Towards the end of the story, Jimmy thoughtlessly blabs everything about the case to a man who is one of the criminals.  Jimmy, Jimmy... what are we to do with you?  Jimmy has five cases under his belt, and he acts this stupid?  Jimmy has been depicted as a bit flighty throughout all of the series, but this went too far, in my opinion.  If this were the first book, I could have seen it.  In the sixth story, I found it hard to believe.  I also found it very hard to believe that Brains didn't become furious and unforgiving of Jimmy's stupidity.  He forgave Jimmy way too quickly, when for lesser offenses, he was brutal to Jimmy.

I enjoyed both of these books.

The Three Investigators series features three detectives:  Jupiter Jones, Pete Crenshaw, and Bob Andrews.  The Brains Benton series features two detectives:  Brains Benton and Jimmy Carson.  When Robert Arthur created the Three Investigators, he turned Brains Benton into Jupiter Jones and Jimmy Carson into Pete Crenshaw.  Arthur then created a third investigator, Bob Andrews, who was modeled after Robert Arthur himself.  So the Three Investigators were basically updated versions of Brains Benton and Jimmy Carson with Robert Arthur written into the story as the third detective.  It makes perfect sense.

Jupiter Jones is a softer version of Brains Benton.  Jupiter is arrogant, but Brains Benton is arrogant to a fault.  Pete Crenshaw is a more competent version of Jimmy Carson.  Both Pete and Jimmy scare easily, but Jimmy scares even more easily.  Pete and Jimmy both make stupid decisions, but Jimmy's mistakes are far worse.  Brains is the person who records the cases in the Brains Benton series, and that role was given to Bob Andrews.

If you enjoy reading the Three Investigators series, make sure you try the Brains Benton books.

No comments: