Monday, July 15, 2013

Book Review: The Mystery at Mead's Mountain by Kathryn Kenny (Trixie Belden #22)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Confusing mystery; great characters
Cons: Teasing a bit harsh at times; uneven pace
The Bottom Line
Nice Vermont setting
For winter ghost mystery
Great later entry




Investigating a Ski Lodge - and Its Ghost

Sometimes, you remember a book more fondly than it deserves.  I think that's the case with The Mystery at Mead's Mountain, the 22nd in the Trixie Belden Mystery series.  While the core of the book is still good, it does have some niggles that keep it from being perfect.

I always describe this series as like the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew but better.  Why do I say that?  Because Trixie and her friends are real characters with flaws.  And Trixie doesn't always get the right answer when she first sees a clue.  Plus it often takes all of Trixie's friends, a semi-secret club who call themselves the Bob-Whites, to notice and piece together all the clues.  Basically, Trixie feels like a real fourteen-year-old and not a superhero like those I mentioned earlier.  (And trust me, I spent many a happy hour reading the Hardys and Nancy, so it's not a complete slam on them.)

When Mr. Wheeler invites the Bob-Whites to investigate the ski resort he's thinking of buying during their Christmas break, they jump at the chance.  A week of cross country skiing and fresh mountain air sounds wonderful.  But they arrive to find a ghostly visitor has left them a warning in their room.  Then Trixie overhears a strange conversation and more weird events start happening.  What is going on?

Now if you want an example of Trixie not reaching the right conclusions right off the bat, this is the book for you.  Every new clue finds her jumping to a different conclusion.  All of them are logical based on what she knows.  But when something happens that doesn't fit her theory, she is also quick to admit it and change theories.  Eventually, she does figure things out correctly.

Which is saying something because the mystery is quite confusing.  Now, of course, I can see how all the clues fit together as I read it, but the first time through is something else.  Honestly, I wish more adult mysteries were this creative and engaging.

The characters are as well developed as always.  There are the usual teasing squabbles, although at times they seem to go a bit too far in this book.  Fortunately, that's kept to a minimum.  And the characters do always have each other's backs, so when something important does happen, you know they are there for each other.

So, what about the flaws I mentioned?  For starters, there's the definitely dated 70's vibe.  One character is wearing bell bottoms when he first shows up, and one scene takes place at a vegetarian restaurant.

Then there is the pace of the book.  While clues and events pop up regularly, there is a certain amount of down time as well.  Plus there's a scene where the Bob-Whites are learning to cross country ski.  That's always bugged me since earlier in the series, they talked about doing that at home.  Here, they're complete novices.

Minor complaints aside, I still enjoy this book and recommend it for all fans of the series.  If you are new to the characters, it would probably be better to start earlier so you can properly meet them.  But then dive in and enjoy The Mystery at Mead's Mountain.

If you are looking for the earlier books, here are the Trixie Belden Mysteries in order.

2 comments:

  1. I loved Trixie Belden when I was a kid! Probably why I love mysteries now!!

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    1. I have many series I blame for my love of mysteries today, but Trixie is certainly on the list.

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