Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Bailey Twins #1 Farnham Hall and #2 Farnham Cadet Corps

The Bailey Twins series was written by Claude A. La Belle and was published by A. L. Burt.

1.  The Bailey Twins at Farnham Hall, 1930
2.  The Bailey Twins and the Farnham Cadet Corps, 1930
3.  The Bailey Twins at Summer Camp, 1930
4.  The Bailey Twins in the Philippines, 1930
5.  The Bailey Twins and the Secret Code, 1930

Four years ago, I saw Bailey Twins #3, 4, and 5 in a used bookstore.  The books were priced at $10 each.  That might seem high, but I had never heard of the Bailey Twins series and knew that many A. L. Burt books are quite scarce.  I purchased the books, intending to try them eventually.  Some months later, I found Bailey Twins #1 locally for $2.

It took me until 2017 to get around to reading the first book.  I enjoyed it and was fortunate to find #2 online at a reasonable price.  I was very fortunate, since all other copies of all of the books were priced high.  So for those who might think that $10 each was a high price to pay in a store, just check the online listings for the Bailey Twins.  The books are not worth what sellers are asking for them since very few people want the books, but at the same time, $10 is below value and is quite a reasonable price.

In the Bailey Twins #1, The Bailey Twins at Farnham Hall, Bob and Ted Bailey begin their first term at Farnham Hall in New Hampshire.  The boys are identical twins and dress exactly alike.  They enjoy playing tricks on others with their identical appearance.

Soon after the twins arrive at school, they make an enemy out of John March.  March is the head of a secret society known as the Black Knights.  The Bailey Twins manage to bring down the Black Knights, and the secret society is ordered to disband.

On page 40, the author notes that the twins have many housemates, but the reader will be introduced to them gradually as they become important.  Wise move!  Some authors make the mistake of throwing out lots of names at the reader all at once, which causes information overload.

On page 67, Bob sets the Black Knights' cabin on fire as a distraction so that he and Ted can escape.  They lock the Black Knights in and drive the Black Knights' cars back to the school.  This surprised me, since all of the Black Knights could have died in the fire if they had not escaped.  Of course the Black Knights survive, but the twins would have been guilty of homicide if the other boys had not escaped.

Since I first read the book last year, I had to read it again in order to refresh my memory before reading the rest of the set.  The second time I read this book, I skipped all the athletic competitions and the hunting scene.  Those parts do not interest me.  Aside from those passages, this is a very good book.

In the Bailey Twins #2, The Bailey Twins and the Farnham Cadet Corps, Farnham Hall has been turned into a military school.  Meanwhile, the Black Knights society has been resurrected with a new leader, Seeley.  Seeley first gets one of the Baileys' closest friends to turn against them, then Bob is cheated out of winning the position of major of the cadet battalion.  The boys also learn that John March is still around and is the cause of much of the trouble.

This book is absorbing from the start and is very engaging.  I did have to skim or skip several athletic competitions, simply because they were too detailed for me.  Otherwise, this is a very good book.

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