Friday, September 25, 2015

Secret Circle Mysteries #7 Missing Emerald and #8 Vanishing Birds

In Secret Circle Mysteries #7, The Mystery of the Missing Emerald, Johnny Villairs comes close to witnessing the theft of a valuable emerald.  Little does he know that the cigarette package he picked up outside the store has the stolen emerald hidden inside.  Johnny's innocent habit of picking up interesting items plunges him into a dangerous web of mystery and intrigue.

This book has a character named Gormley and another named Emerson.  The name Gormley reminded me of Oliver Pritz Gormly of the Dana Girls book, The Clue of the Rusty Key, and Emerson made me think of Emerson College from the Nancy Drew series.  Not only that, but the title of the book is very similar to the title of a Trixie Belden book.

Johnny's father is disabled due to a stroke.  He is confined to a wheelchair, can't move well, and has trouble speaking.  The Secret Circle Mysteries include bits of realism that don't often appear in the traditional series book.

At one point during the story, someone ransacks Johnny's home, obviously in search of the emerald that Johnny doesn't know he picked up.  Johnny's mother doesn't believe Johnny and his sister when they insist that they didn't ransack the entire house.  We are talking about the entire house which has been totally trashed with things pulled apart, knocked over, and so on.  Johnny's mother thinks the children did it!  If the children don't normally tear the entire house apart when they play, why is she so certain that they did this time?  Hello!  It's called an intruder!

This book is good, but the location of the emerald is apparent to the reader from the very beginning.  Johnny, of course, has no idea, but it's so obvious.  The publisher even made sure that the reader would know, since the publisher's summary says where the emerald is!  I didn't read the summary before beginning the book, because so many publisher summaries give away major details that I would rather not know at the beginning of the story.  Even without the publisher telling me, I knew as soon as Johnny picks up the cigarette package that the diamond has to be inside.

I overall enjoyed this book, but the story wasn't very compelling since the solution was apparent from the beginning.

In Secret Circle Mysteries #8, The Valley of the Vanishing Birds, Jeff Gardner and his sister, Mattie, look for whooping cranes.  He hopes to find a secret valley described by his grandfather where the whooping cranes nest.  Another party is also looking for the whooping cranes, and soon, Jeff and Mattie have reason to believe that the men are poachers.

According to the story, only 32 whooping cranes remained in the world.  According to online resources, around 40 to 50 remained at the time of this story.  Regardless, the whooping crane was gravely endangered when this story was written, so the idea of someone killing a few of the birds as trophies is quite awful.

I enjoyed this story.

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