Friday, May 13, 2016

The Bobbsey Twins at London Tower

The Bobbsey Twins at London Tower (1959) by Laura Lee Hope (aka ghostwriters) sees the Bobbsey kids take a trip guessed it...Great Britain and in the middle of a mystery that stretches from their hometown of Lakeport all the way to the Tower of London. The adventure begins in Lakeport--the Bobbseys are working on a castle playhouse which they plan on donating to the Castle Hospital's children's ward. Once the playhouse is complete, they want to furnish it with miniature furniture, suits of armor, etc. A local toymaker who deals in miniatures is robbed soon after the kids visit his store and they get enough of a glimpse of the thief that the police identify the man as "Silver Smitty," a thief know for taking silver pieces and who now shows an interest in miniatures.

Soon Mr. Bobbsey needs to go to London to represent his lumber company and he takes the entire family with him. The kids plan to search for more realistic miniatures in the country which has far more castles than the United States and they learn that Smitty has also come to London when a rash of burglaries featuring miniatures takes place. Once again, the Bobbsey twins are able to help the police--British bobbies this time--to track down the bad guys.

As I mentioned in the review for the first Bobbsey Twins mystery I read, these books have a great many coincidences in them. It seems incredible that Smitty would take the same ship as the Bobbseys (especially in the late fifties when air travel was more convenient). It also seems incredible that Smitty and his confederates would keep crossing paths with the Bobbseys. The books have nice, simple mysteries that reflect a much simpler time. The kids are constantly running off (especially the younger set of twins) and the parents are mighty indulgent about it. I'm not an advocate for helicopter parenting, but I do find it a stretch of the imagination to believe that parents would not be concerned when their six-year-olds disappear in a strange big city. The kids wandered off repeatedly in New York City in the last book and do it again here in London. Mr. and Mrs. Bobbsey react pretty much with a finger shake and a "don't do it again"--but we all know they will.

The books were obviously intended for a young readership and the simple, straight-forward mysteries would certainly appeal to kids of an earlier time. The stories are good, clean fun with characters who, although they can't stay put, are good kids--kind-hearted and ready to help anyone they can. The good guys always win and the bad guys say things at the end that remind you of Scooby Doo villains: If it wasn't for those pesky kids....

★★ for a pleasant read.

With the Tower itself on the cover, this counts for the "Building" category on the Golden Vintage Scavenger Hunt card. It also counts for the "protagonist under the age of 18" category in the Mystery Reporter Challenge.


Jacquie said...

The very first mysteries I read were the Bobbsey Twins in the 1950s. I don't remember much about them (including any mystery) and I soon moved to the Hardy Boys. I wonder if I could bear to read one now, but your review makes me curious. :) Thanks!

fredamans said...

Love the Bobbsey Twins. I read my mother's collection as a young reader and they were my favorite mysteries then.

Bev Hankins said...

Jacqueline, as long as you remember the age group it was written for, it works just fine. I have to remind myself that intricate mysteries are not going to be on display. :-)