Saturday, April 13, 2013

Book Review: The Mystery of the Emeralds by Katherine Kenny (Trixie Belden #14)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great adventure and cool trip
Cons: Again, no Dan
The Bottom Line:
Missing emeralds
And a mystery from the past
Create a fun book

Trixie on the Trail of a Long Hidden Necklace

The Mystery of the Emeralds is the 14th book in the Trixie Belden series, a mystery series along the lines of the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew. It stars fourteen-year-old Trixie Belden and her friends, who call themselves the Bob-Whites. No matter what else is happening, Trixie seems to draw Honey, Diana, and the others into one mystery after another.

Faced with a rainy summer day, Mrs. Belden announces it's the perfect day to clean out the attic and barn. While Trixie is helping with the attic, she finds an unknown crawl space. Investigating further, Trixie finds a letter dating back from the time of the Civil War that references an emerald necklace.

The letter was headed to a family in a neighboring town, so Trixie and her best friend Honey go over to investigate. The trail quickly leads to a small town in Virginia. At first, it looks like this might be the end of the trail, but soon Diana comes up with a way to bring almost all the Bob-Whites along.

Things aren't quite as easy as they had hoped in Virginia. The house they need to search is closed to them, and someone else is also looking for the necklace. But they stumble on some good luck when they visit a neighboring house and meet the owner, Mr. Carver. He's more the willing to let them look around. But can Trixie find a necklace that's been hidden for 100 years?

Every time I read this book, I am reminded about just how good it is. This is the only time in the series that the trail of the mystery starts in Sleepyside and leads Trixie somewhere else. While the solution is a little easy (it helps to have rich friends), seeing the Bob-Whites struggle with this is nice. The mystery itself is well done with nice set backs, a couple twists, and suspense that keeps me turning pages even though I remember how it all ends.

On top of this, this Kathryn Kenny did a great job with the characters. The Bob-Whites are their best selves, focusing on their strengths and not the negative caricatures they can be in some of the books. Also, the plot uses all the characters to a certain extent. Except for poor Dan. He doesn't even get to show up to say he can't go but has to send the message through others. The new characters in the story are bright and alive, especially Miss Bates, who leaps off the page and leaves me a little breathless every time she appears.

A quick note about the timing of the book. This book was originally written around 1965, which makes the timeline of events from the Civil War to Trixie finding the letter work.

It's funny I never think of The Mystery of the Emeralds as one of my favorites in the series because I enjoy it so much every time I do read it. This is a perfect example of why I still love the series so much. Anyone familiar with the series will love this book. It could work for new comers as well, but I do recommend starting with the first few books in the series.

And once you've read those first few, you'll want to read the rest of the Trixie Belden Mysteries in order.

1 comment:

  1. There must be something about Emeralds that makes it slip the mind, because I never think of it when asked for favorites, yet it's one of the few whose most basic plot I could still remember decades after reading it. The fact that I didn't remember it as a favorite made rediscovering it as an adult all the better I think.