Saturday, March 28, 2015

Roger Baxter #1 Stranger at the Inlet

The Roger Baxter series is the precursor to the Ken Holt series.  The books were written by Sam and Beryl Epstein, authors of the Ken Holt series.  Plot ideas and character attributes were later incorporated into the Ken Holt series.

The first book was written under the pseudonym Charles Strong, while the other two were written under the pseudonym Martin Colt.  The UK edition of the first book gives the author as Martin Colt.

1.  Stranger at the Inlet, 1946
2.  The Secret of Baldhead Mountain, 1946
3.  The Riddle of the Hidden Pesos, 1948

Roger and Bill Baxter are brothers.  Roger is 14, and Bill is 12.

In Stranger at the Inlet, Roger and Bill's summer plans are upended when their parents rent the family's cottage to a man named Slim Warner.  They had planned to spend time at the cottage, but Mr. Warner's presence changes their plans.  Roger becomes suspicious of Slim and decides he is up to something.  The boys are shocked when they learn that Slim is a government agent who is investigating a smuggling ring. Slims lets the boys help him on his case.

The way the boys are suspicious of Slim, learn the truth, and help him on his case is very much like how Ken and Sandy become acquainted with and work with Mort in The Mystery of the Green Flame.  The general setting of this book reminds me of The Clue of the Marked Claw.

Uncle Willie partially reminds me of Steven Granger.

During one part of the book, Bill has to stay behind while Roger gets to have an adventure.  Later, Roger volunteers to stay while Bill gets to have the adventure.  Even though Roger volunteered to stay, Slim asks him if he minds.
"Of course not."  He did, naturally.  But Bill hadn't complained when it was his turn, so he couldn't complain now.
I like these boys.

This book reminds me a lot of the earlier Ken Holt books, which are the ones that I had trouble enjoying.  I easily like this book more than those books.

The Stranger at the Inlet is quite engaging and flows quite well.  The boys sleuth around in dark and creepy places, and the atmosphere is quite tense.  

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