Saturday, April 13, 2013

Book Review: The Mystery on Cobbett's Island by Kathryn Kenny (Trixie Belden #13)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Perfectly captured characters; fun and (mostly) exciting story
Cons: Dan isn't included
The Bottom Line:
Treasure hunt, sail boats
On an island vacation
What more could you want?

Trixie Sails for Treasure

The Trixie Belden series was a series of mysteries for elementary school students. Written from 1948 to 1986, it has captured the hearts of many fans over the generations. Why? Because, unlike Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys, Trixie and her friends seem real. And The Mystery on Cobbett's Island is a perfect example.

This is the thirteenth book in the series, and most readers will be familiar with the characters by now. Trixie Belden is a fourteen year old who loves mystery and adventure. Her willing companion during these episodes is her best friend, Honey Wheeler. Always dragged into it whether they want to be or not are Trixie's older brothers Mart and Brian, Honey's adopted brother Jim, and their friend Diana Lynch.

The Wheelers have rented a house of Cobbett's Island off the coast of New York. Honey and Jim have invited the rest of their friends to join them for a week of relaxing. Trixie agrees that sound wonderful, but everyone is convinced she will find some mystery for them. Turns out they were right.

During a fierce storm the night they arrive, Trixie finds a letting in an old book in the library of the house where they are staying. Best they can tell, it is a clue to a treasure hidden years before. Who hid it? Is it still there?

Meanwhile, they've befriended their neighbor Peter. Peter loves to sail, and that might just be the key to finding the treasure. Will he be able to help them?

Warning, I will be gushing for the rest of the review. You see, this is my second favorite book in the series. And it's a very close second, too.

What makes it so much fun? First of all, there's the mystery itself. Yes, it slows down a little at times, but on the whole it moves along well. There is a surprise or two before it reaches the completely satisfying solution.

Then there are the characters. Over the course of the series, there were many writers. As you can imagine, sometimes these writers got the characters and sometimes they didn't. Here, the writer got the characters. They are the best versions of themselves. Yes, they have flaws, but those flaws are kept to a minimum. Even Diana, who often come across as weak and whiney, is a fun character who contributes to the solution. The only downside in the character department is that the final main character, Dan Mangan, isn't included in the adventure.

Because the characters are so much fun, I enjoy hanging out with them. So even when the plot slows down a little, I don't care. It always slows to allow the friends to have fun, and that's fun to read about.

Finally, there's the sailing. It plays a huge part of the story. Since I love anything having to do with water, you can imagine how much I love that.

In my eyes, this is one of the stronger entries in the series. I can't recommend The Mystery on Cobbett's Island highly enough.

And if you want to read more, here are the Trixie Belden Mysteries in order.

1 comment:

  1. I know I had some grumbly gripes and minor characterization quibbles about this book while reading it -- yet reading your review, all I could do was nod and agree. Cobbett's Island and Emeralds (supposedly by the same author) are far and away the best KK books so far on my "as an adult" re-read, and I might even put them ahead of some of Julie Campbell's.