Monday, June 11, 2018

Roy Stover #1 Lakeport Bank Mystery and #2 Snowbound Express

The Roy Stover series is a Stratemeyer Syndicate series that consists of four books.

1.  The Lakeport Bank Mystery, 1929
2.  The Mystery of the Snowbound Express, 1929
3.  The Cliff Island Mystery, 1930
4.  The Mystery of the Circle of Fire, 1934

The first three books were written by John W. Duffield, and the last book was written by Walter Karig.  The first three books were originally published by Barse and later by Grosset and Dunlap.  The fourth book was published by Grosset and Dunlap.  The Barse books are extremely scarce, and the Grosset and Dunlap books are scarce.

This series was aimed at young adults rather than children.  The language and content is more mature than that of the average vintage series book.  The stories are of high quality.

In Roy Stover #1, The Lakeport Bank Mystery, Roy starts working as a cub reporter on his father's newspaper.  Roy hopes for a big story to cover and soon he gets one when the Lakeport bank is robbed.  Roy's big story becomes personal when Joe, who is going to marry Roy's sister, is accused of the robbery.  Roy sets out to find the true culprit and thereby prove Joe's innocence.

Roy comes up with an idea to help the women of the town.  His mother is stressed out by the process of mailing out checks for all of the bills at the start of the month.  Roy's idea is that the women can give all of their signed checks to the bank along with their bills.  The bank will make out the checks for them and send the checks to the creditors.  I thought that this was a smart solution to a problem that has been solved nowadays with electronic payments.

The subject content is aimed at slightly older audiences.  The story mentions liquor and narcotics.  The expression "one of the biggest scoundrels yet unhung" is used.  The text contains lots of slang, like yegg, which is not usually seen in series books.

On page 239, Roy has cornered the culprits in a cellar.  As the men try to get out, one of them begs Roy, "Say, bimbo, have a heart."  This shows how language changes over the years.  "Bimbo" meant "fellow" or "man" in the early 20th century.  The meaning is now quite different and no longer applies to men.

In Roy Stover #2, The Mystery of the Snowbound Express, a train has stalled in the snow near Lakeport.  Roy goes to interview the passengers.  On Roy's way to the train, he picks up a case and carries it with him, little aware of the significance and trouble it will cause.

While Roy is on the train, a theft of valuable diamonds is discovered.  The case is found on Roy, and it is the case in which the diamonds had been kept.  Roy is accused of being the thief!  Roy unwittingly has provided the key evidence against himself, but he knows that he did not steal the diamonds.  Roy must now prove his innocence.

On page 19, Roy suspects that a man is a "dope fiend" because of the look in his eyes. 

Both of these books are extremely good.  These books are excellent mysteries.

3 comments:

Father David said...

Thank you for writing about this series. A friend sent me The Lakeport Bank Mystery some time back, and I am only now reading it, and think that it is very well done! He also sent me Snowbound Express, and yesterday I purchased the last two in this series. I think this series is overlooked in the series book world, and plan to write about it for the next issue of Fred Woodworth's Review. My question for you is how you learned the actual authors' names. I'd also like permission to quote you in the article as the researcher for this information. Will that be okay? The article probably won't appear for about a year. Thank you. [P.S. I am identified in my Google account as Father David, but this is David Baumann. I don't know why I am ID'd as Father David, which is how I am known in my profession--that's not needed here, but I don't know how to change it.]

Jennifer White said...

I checked around, and I am certain that I got the author information from a comment by James Keeline in the Collecting Vintage Children's Series Books group. In an answer to a question, James wrote, "Yes, Roy Stover was a Stratemeyer Syndicate series. John W. Duffield wrote the first three. Walter Karig wrote volume 4."

I suggest crediting James Keeline as the source of the author information, since he did the research that revealed the authors. If you do want to quote me on anything from this post, I don't mind.

Roy Stover is an outstanding series and well worth reading. I am glad that you have managed to track down all four books.

Father David said...

Thanks, Jennifer. I wondered if the information was ultimately from James Keeline; it is the kind of information he would have. What a researcher he is!