Pros: Great characters; interesting story
Cons: Perhaps too many characters? The prophecy
The Bottom Line:
Most fans love this book
But I find the prophecy
Drags it down for me
Thrilling Adventure. Just Wish It Didn't Have that Prophecy.
The Mystery of the Blinking Eye has it all, fun, adventure, mystery, and danger. No wonder it's a favorite of many fans of the Trixie Belden series.
If you're new to the series, this will be a confusing place to start. You see, it's book #12 in a series, so most readers already know who the characters are. And there are a lot of them. There's 14-year-old Trixie Belden, her two older brothers Mart and Brian, her friends Honey Wheeler, Diana Lynch, Dan Mangan, and Jim Frayne, who is also Honey's adopted brother. Together, the seven teens have formed a club, the Bob-Whites of the Glen. Confused yet? I hope not because this book also mentions some characters introduced in The Mystery in
and features Ned Schultz and Bob and Barbara Hubbell, who we met in The Happy
Valley Mystery. Phew. And we haven't even started the mystery yet.
The Bob-Whites are in
York City for a few days to show their friends Ned,
Bob, and Barbara around. While waiting for their friends' flight to arrive from
notices a strange Mexican woman who can't find her flight. After Trixie helps
her, the woman gives Trixie a purse with a fortune inside.
A couple hours later, Trixie spies an idol so ugly it's cute, and she just has to buy it. But almost immediately, some thugs are following the teens around. Are they after the idol? Why? Can Trixie use the prophecy to solve the case before more danger strikes?
When I first read these books, I read them in whatever order I could get them. I don't remember where this one fell in the sequence, but it was well after I knew the characters. And I'm glad. In case you missed it, there are 10 main characters plus the chaperon. That's a lot of people to keep straight if you don't know them. Since I already knew them all, it was no problem. In fact, I was glad to see so many characters. Why? Because it seems like one of more of the Bob-Whites gets sidelined in each book. It was great to see all seven of them here. And I loved Ned, Bob, and Barbara during their first visit, so it was nice to see them again.
But here's the thing, there may be lots of characters, but the author does a good job of juggling them. All of them get a few scenes to really stand out. It helps that the author did a good job of capturing their unique personalities. This is one of those books that still make the Bob-Whites seem real to me.
Then there's the story. As a true mystery, it's a tad weak. But this is an exciting adventure in every sense of the word. And there are plenty of questions for Trixie to answer of the course of the book. It's strong, and always pulls me in from start to finish.
And the book is well written. It is aimed at 8-12 year olds, and they'll have no problem with it. Granted, it's not anything fancy, but it will entertain.
So what's my problem with the book? I don't believe in fortune tellers, and the prophecy that they fortune teller gives Trixie at the beginning is accurate 100% of the time. When I read the book, I do my best to ignore that aspect of the story, which isn't easy since it's an important part of the story. Many fans of the series count this among their favorites for the very reason I hate it, so I'm in the minority on this one.