Sunday, April 19, 2015

Troy Nesbit Rustlers' Fort, Diamond Cave, and Forest Fire

In The Mystery at Rustlers' Fort, Phil vacations with his cousin, Buzz, and Buzz's family near the Grand Canyon.  The boys notice a man who appears to be watching their camp.  The boys are certain that the man is up to mischief.  A nearby jewelry store is robbed, and the boys believe that the strange man is responsible.  Meanwhile, the boys purchase a Geiger counter so that they can hunt for uranium.  The Geiger counter plays an unexpected role in helping the boys solve the mystery.

The plot has many unexpected twists and turns, and the reader never knows exactly what will happen next.  The journey is fun from start to finish.

This book is outstanding.

In The Diamond Cave Mystery, Chuck and Hal learn about an old bible and coin that hold a series of clues to a hidden stash of diamonds.  The boys eagerly begin a search.  Chuck and Hal let their reporter friend publish the clues in the newspaper, which sets the entire county on a search for the diamonds.  Chuck and Hal must work fast to find the diamonds before someone else does.

Hal's little brother, Sammy, is like a clone of Bobby Belden from the Trixie Belden series.  The kid is a brat who throws tantrums.  He even threatens the older boys and then carries out his threats.  All of the adults excuse Sammy's behavior and seem not to understand why the boys consider it a nuisance to babysit him. One adult says that the boys would "be the same way Sammy is if you didn't have any kids around your own age to play with."  Oh, is that it?

I was skeptical about The Diamond Cave Mystery at first.  I knew that the Power Boys book, The Mystery of the Million-Dollar Penny, borrowed plot content from this book.  I did not enjoy the Power Boys book at all, so I had a negative feeling towards this book.  Fortunately, the Power Boys book is a very poor imitation of this book.   The Diamond Cave Mystery is outstanding.

In The Forest Fire Mystery, Art has recently moved from Denver to the mountains.  He becomes friends with Joe, and the two boys spend their time searching for the person responsible for starting a string of fires in the mountains.  Their two suspects, Mr. Horner and Mr. Maynard, are both behaving suspiciously, but both men seem to have airtight alibis.

Art and his younger sister, Liz, make a great team.  Page 76 of the Harvey House edition has a great example of their teamwork.
"See!" he exclaimed, pointing triumphantly at the ground.

"Yes, look!" Liz cried excitedly—but she pointed at something different.

"The truck went this way," Art said.  "You can tell by those tire treads I showed you a while ago."

"Who cares about tires?  The important thing is that the burros went the same way.  You can see their hoofprints," Liz answered.

Art grinned at the fact that he and his sister specialized in different kinds of evidence.  But right now all the evidence pointed in one direction.
This book has a really great mystery, and the reader is kept guessing as to how it will work out.  This book is outstanding.

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