Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Ken Holt #3 Black Thumb Mystery and #4 Marked Claw

In Ken Holt #3, The Black Thumb Mystery, Frank Brown has just been convicted of assisting in a bank robbery.  Mr. Brown is a good friend of the Allen family, and unfortunately, a key piece of evidence was supplied by Ken and Sandy when they testified about something one of the crooks told Mr. Brown.  Sandy feels horrible, so Ken and Sandy try to find a way to clear Mr. Brown.

As when I read this book four years ago, I had some trouble getting into it.  We aren't given a reason to care about Mr. Brown and his plight.  Sure, we know that he is a friend of the Allens, but Ken reflects to himself about how he doesn't feel as bad as they do, since he hasn't lived in Brentwood for long.  That's how I felt since I didn't know anything about Mr. Brown.  The bank robbery occurred before the opening of the book, and the guilty verdict came in at the beginning of the book.  I always have more trouble with books when important parts of the plot occur before the beginning of the book.

Once I got several chapters into the book, I was fine.  The mystery plays out in a similar fashion to The Riddle of the Stone Elephant and is enjoyable.

When I read these books, I always wonder about how Ken and Sandy can drive a red convertible and successfully trail other vehicles without being noticed.  At one point in this book, Ken and Sandy stay back 100 feet from the other vehicle so that they won't be noticed.  The road is rural.

The psychological game that Ken and Sandy play with Horn towards the end of the book is fascinating.

Once I got into the story, the book was great all the way through until the end.  The end did not drag, and all of it was engaging.

In Ken Holt #4, The Clue of the Marked Claw, Ken and Sandy visit Ted Bateson, one of Ken's friends from his old school.  Soon after their arrival, the boys learn that someone is robbing  the Batesons' lobster traps.  The Batesons are quite certain that they know who the culprit is, but without proof, they can do nothing.  Ken and Sandy decide to spend their vacation time working on the case.

I found that I enjoyed most of this book more than I did the first time I read it.  I began to remember some details soon into the book and was certain that I remembered the identity of one of the culprits.  That piqued my interest.  Unfortunately, I did grow tired of the story towards the end and skimmed parts of the last three to four chapters.

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