Friday, May 18, 2018

Kay Tracey #13 The Forbidden Tower

In Kay Tracey #13, The Forbidden Tower, Kay and the Pathfinders Club decide to journey by bus to Florida.  Unfortunately, Ethel's Bittersweet Society also journeys to Florida by bus.

Kay and her friends meet Mrs. Dodd, whose granddaughter is missing.  Kay promises to help find Emily.  Kay soon suspects that Mrs. Dodd's neighbor, Jasper Jackson, might be responsible for Emily's disappearance.  Kay also believes that Jackson is involved in some kind of illegal activity.

This book was written by Edna Stratemeyer Squier, who wrote most of the outlines for this series.  The craziness of the Kay Tracey series is all Edna.  With Edna as the actual author, this book delivers all the craziness one could want, and I love it!

This is one of the three books that was never reissued by other publishers, and in this case, it seems apparent why this title was dropped.  The plot is incredibly crazy, and the text is racist, including describing someone as having a "kinky head" or having eyes that bulge in fear.  One character is named Sambo.  The text also describes Native Americans as "red men."  And that's not all of it.

Wilma's poetry is much less annoying in this book.  Yay, Edna!

The "Bittersweet Society" has to be the worst club name ever.

It's really odd how Kay and her friends randomly meet Mrs. Dodd near home, and Mrs. Dodd conveniently lives near their destination in Florida.  Just a few pages later, the girls also chance to meet Perry Amerman, Mrs. Dodd's grandson.

Perry Amerman stays overnight at Kay's home in Kay's bedroom.  Hmm.  Okay, this is not what you're thinking, but it's still odd.  Kay is displaced from her bedroom so that Perry can stay in it.  Why on earth is the girl displaced from her bedroom instead of Cousin Bill?

It gets even better.  On page 23, Lee Jackson goes to the Tracey home in an attempt to retrieve the wallet he stole from Perry Amerman.  He sees an open window, which happens to be Kay's, and uses a ladder to climb into the bedroom.  Perry sees him, and the two men fight, knocking over furniture.  The Traceys hear the commotion, but the bedroom door is locked.  Kay goes outside, sees the ladder, and climbs it.  She observes the fight, goes down the ladder, then Cousin Bill climbs the ladder into the bedroom to stop the fight.  I love it.

During the journey to Florida, the Pathfinders stay at a hotel, and the coincidences continue.  The maid knows Mrs. Dodd and Jasper.  Her brother is Sambo.

On page 72, Wilma is hit in the cheek with a whip but somehow only receives a "stinging blow."

On page 77, the girls arrive at the Dodd estate.  "After tapping with the knocker they were admitted by a colored servant carrying a pail.  She apologized for her strange costume, which made the three chums think of a masquerade.  The woman said she was on her way to the raspberry patch to pick berries for preserving."

A pail makes Kay and her friends think of a masquerade.  Huh?  What is wrong with them?  I don't see anything odd about a servant carrying a pail.  I would assume that the servant was in the middle of cleaning or some other activity common to servants.

On page 85, Ethel falls into a cistern.  It's too bad she doesn't stay there.

On page 88, Kay, Betty, and Wilma investigate Mrs. Dodd's house while a wrecking crew is tearing it down.  "Bricks and mortar were tumbling everywhere."  The girls then enter a passageway that they find in the basement, but they get trapped when the rubble from the house falls down into the tunnel.

On pages 102 and 103, Kay, Betty, and Wilma are in a storm.  All three suddenly get blown onto the roof of Kay's cottage.  And then immediately, the storm is over.

On page 129, a man who is playing ghost with a sheet catches on fire from a lighted cigarette.
In an instant the fragile draperies about the ghost were in a blaze.  Away it ran, the breeze fanning the ignited cloth.  The figure howled now in agony.

It was a man in masquerade!  Quickly he disappeared into the night, crying in distress.
The girls leave immediately with no concern as to whether the man is okay.  Wow.

On page 143, Kay and her friends are minding their own business having dinner.  A young Indian girl is with them, having stowed away in their car.  The girl's father suddenly appears, after having been told by Ethel that they took his daughter.  "The Indian burst in upon them, his eagle-like eyes spying his daughter.  In his hand the father carried a tomahawk.  Menacingly he converged upon the group."  Yikes.

On page 168, a fire has started in the woods.  When the firefighters arrive, the chief immediately demands, "Who started this fire?" before the men begin fighting the fire.  Shouldn't the fire be extinguished before interrogating the witnesses?  It turns out that Ethel started the fire to get revenge on Kay and her friends.  Nice.

I loved this book years ago, and I still love it.  Kay Tracey is at her best when the plots are crazy, and this one is the craziest one of all.

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