Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Happy Valley Mystery: Review

The Bob Whites (minus new member Dan Mangan, who must work hard to catch up on schoolwork so he can stay in the same class as Jim and Brian) are off to Iowa for a Spring Break adventure. The Beldens' Uncle Andrew stops by Sleepyside for a visit on his way to Scotland. When he finds that his niece, nephews, and their friends will be at loose ends during their school holiday, he offers to send them all to his sheep farm in the Midwest.

Uncle Andrew expects the kids to learn about sheep, have some fun helping out around the farm, and maybe enjoy a dance at the local high school. But as soon as Trixie hears that her uncle's sheep have been disappearing at regular intervals, she knows that she and the Bob Whites have another job to do...and another mystery to solve. There's a mysterious bearded man to check out, a hired hand who acts a bit suspiciously, and the men who are selling sheep carcasses on the cheap for the school's barbecue. And what about the mysterious lights in the dark and dangerous Walnut Woods nearby?

Trixie's curiosity lead her, Jim, and Honey into a dangerous situation when the river starts rising and the bridge washes out behind them. But the brave threesome manage to get themselves to safety atop a barn and Trixie spots the sheep-rustlers from their perch. Once she and her fellow Bob Whites are rescued, she convinces her uncle's manager to send the police after the crooks and saves the day for Uncle Andrew's farm.

This was one of my all-time favorite Trixie Belden stories when I was growing up. Iowa is close enough to Indiana that it brought the story into familiar territory for me and, of course, I loved that it ends with Jim presenting Trixie with the silver ID bracelet and telling her that she's his special girl. The added danger at the end made it all the more exciting--but safely exciting because we all knew that Trixie, Jim, and Honey would be okay in the end. When I spotted this vintage edition at an antique mall last year, I knew I had to get it and revisit the adventure with the Bob Whites. The stroll down memory lane was well worth it and I enjoyed going back to a simpler time in my mystery reading. It was a lot of fun to visit again with Trixie and the Bob Whites. ★★★★ then and now--for nostalgia's sake. 

[Finished on 8/16/17]

This fulfills the "Any Other Animal" category on the Silver Vintage Scavenger Hunt card.


Debbie Rodgers said...

Life's just like that sometimes, Bev! Yesterday, I received in the mail, out of the blue, from my girlfriend of 58 years, a vintage copy of this very same book (well, different edition I guess because it has a different cover).

Trixie was my ABSOLUTE favourite when I was a kid. :-)

Bev Hankins said...

Debbie--how cool is that? I was a bad girl and stored my Trixie Belden books in the garage too long and they got damaged (most had that weird plastic overwrap). I've been hunting for vintage editions to replace them.