Sunday, July 19, 2015

Tom Quest #3 Cypress Stump and #4 Lost Mesa

In Tom Quest #3, The Clue of the Cypress Stump, Tom, Whiz, and Gulliver search the Florida everglades for a hidden cache of stolen uranium.  The only clue is a cypress stump.

I knew what the significance of the cypress stump would be as soon as I knew the basis for the mystery.  The plot summary on the dust jacket mentions how the climax of the mystery would be when the cypress stump "yields its secret."  The secret is obvious from the beginning.

This book features Captain Popple, who is a magnificent character.  Captain Popple is spunky, and he is a little man with a piping voice.  In his own way, Popple is as great of a character as is Gulliver.  I wouldn't have minded seeing Popple appear in a another book, but alas, this is the only one with him.

The fight scene near the end of the book is a bit long for my taste.  This lengthy fight scene is the only scene in the entire Tom Quest series that was tedious for me.

This is a very good book.

In Tom Quest #4, The Secret of the Lost Mesa, Tom, Whiz, and Gulliver search for a lost Aztec civilization in Mexico.  The civilization is said to be located on an isolated mesa.  Soon, the group realizes that someone is trying to keep them away from the mesa for some sinister purpose.

On page 13, we learn that Tom found a camera on a beach in Mexico.  The camera contained a roll of film that had been fully exposed.  Tom removed the film and mailed it to his father so that his father could develop it.  Meanwhile, Tom advertised in a couple of papers in an attempt to find the owner of the camera so that it could be returned.  Um, what about the film?  I thought it a bit high-handed that the film was removed and mailed away to be developed.  Wouldn't the owner want the film as well as the camera?

Of course, the film is the clue to the lost mesa and necessary to the plot of the book, but still, Tom had no right to mail the film to his father to be developed.

On page 63, Tom, Gulliver, and Whiz are driving through the jungle in Gulliver's jeep when they spot a map that has been pinned to a tree.  The map appears to show the path to the lost mesa.  So of course, Tom and Whiz decide that finding the map is fortuitous and that they should change paths to follow it. 

It's just like if I were to walk out on my porch one morning to find a mysterious cupcake waiting for me.  I don't know who put it there, so I should eat it, right?  No!

At least Gulliver is suspicious of the map and investigates its path alone, or else the entire expedition would have been doomed.

This book is so full of adventure that by page 92 I felt like the book ought to be almost over.  So much had already happened!

On page 104, Gulliver thinks about how the "Indians in Texas and in Oklahoma were primitive people."  He concludes that he could interact with the lost Aztec civilization in the same manner in which he has dealt with the Indians of Texas and Oklahoma.  This book was written in 1949.  The Indians of Texas and Oklahoma couldn't have been that primitive in 1949, certainly not so much as an Aztec civilization that supposedly had been isolated for centuries.

But then again, the lost Aztec civilization was not quite so primitive as one would expect.  A couple of the Indians could speak some English, so they had been in contact with modern civilization.

This book is also very good.

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