Friday, August 28, 2015

Mill Creek #9 Prince Goes West and #10 Three Straw Men

In the Mill Creek Irregulars #9, The Prince Goes West, Sim and Pete go camping on Andy's Island without waiting for Steve, who later catches up.  Sim is dismayed when Steve and Pete take an interest in the strange actions of two men across the river.  The boys investigate after dark and discover a kidnapped prince!

This is the only book in which Steve travels outside of Wisconsin to another state, when he briefly stays in Chicago.  Except for this trip and for a brief passage in another book where Steve is on the Mississippi River between Iowa and Wisconsin, the entire series is set in the state of Wisconsin.  I always like series books best that are set near the main character's home.  This series is that type.

The boys have an acquaintance, Mr. Barton, who is in the Secret Service.  He appears briefly in three of the books, including this one.  On page 149, Mr. Barton is impressed with Steve's ability to solve mysteries.
I didn't say anything more.

Mr. Barton didn't either, but from time to time I caught him looking at me with a twinkle in his eye and a barely concealed smile.

When we drove in toward the landing, he said, "If you should ever consider a career in the Secret Service, let me know."

"No danger," I said.  "I'm going to be a writer."

"What a waste!" he said.
The title of this book is clever.  I knew before reading the book that a prince was involved in the plot.  I thought that the prince would go west, as in going towards the western part of the country.  Instead, the title refers to Steve having the prince wear his old clothing, so the prince went west, as in dressing in a western fashion.

I greatly enjoyed this book.

In the Mill Creek Irregulars #10, The Three Straw Men, Steve notices an unusual delivery of sugar to Folsom's Fashion Center.  Later, Steve eavesdrops on the Folsoms and overhears an argument that could be about something nefarious.

On page 41, I learned that Steve doesn't know how to ride a bicycle.  Back when he had tried to learn, he kept falling off, so he decided not to bother.  I had wondered earlier in the series why Steve and Sim never ride on bicycles, and this explains it.  Since Derleth modeled Steve after himself, I wonder if Derleth never learned how to ride a bicycle.

The title of this book is also clever.  On page 142, Grandfather Adams explains that the culprits "kept on making mistakes to cover up the first ones.  They thought they were iron men, but they were only made of straw—just three straw men who made a career of fooling the village."

Grandfather Adams is one of my favorite characters in this series.  He is full of wisdom, and he comes to Steve's rescue rather often.  He always has faith in Steve and knows that regardless of how a situation looks that Steve is honest.  Grandfather Adams also enjoys hearing about Steve and Sim's escapades.

I greatly enjoyed reading about Steve and Sim.  As I have already stated, this series is, to me, most similar to the Brains Benton books by Charles Morgan, III, and to the Roger Baxter series.  There is a magic that all three series have.

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