Sunday, January 22, 2017

Book Review: The Indian Burial Ground Mystery by Kathryn Kenny (Trixie Belden #38)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Always fun to visit these characters
Cons: Characters and plot weaker than they could be
The Bottom Line:
Later Trixie book
Still has elements of fun
But not series best

Archeological Dig Comes to Sleepyside

Trixie Belden number 38 has a special place in my heart.  While it is the next to last book in the series, it was the last book I had to track down and read when I was a teen, having previous gotten the rest.  And it took me a couple of years, too, since this was in the days before eBay.  Of course, that special place doesn’t make me overlook the flaws in The Indian Burial Ground Mystery, and it has some series flaws.

Summer is starting, and fourteen-year-old Trixie Belden is excited about the archeological dig that is going to happen on her neighbor Honey’s property.  Professor Conroy has determined that there is an Indian burial ground there, and he has agreed to let the Bob-Whites, Trixie and her friends, help out.  To Trixie, it looks like a mystery with each artifact they find being a new clue to the lives of the Indians who lived in the region centuries ago.

The one flaw in her summer plans is Charles, the student leader of the dig.  While warming up to Trixie’s older brother Brian, he is rude to Trixie.  Trixie knows he is up to something, but Brian won’t listen.  Can Trixie figure it all out?

If you have missed this series, it is a mystery series for kids along the lines of Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys.  Early in the series, the characters are real and complex.  By the time we’ve reached these last few books, they are more caricatures of themselves than real characters.  That’s very obvious here were Trixie and Brian’s interactions feel more like plot points than the brother/sister relationship we see early on.  Heck, they completely write out Honey’s adopted brother, Jim, for the book, although the rest of the Bob-Whites at least get a few appearances.

Then there’s the plot.  It’s fairly obvious who the villain is early on.  There are a few complications that keep it from being completely obvious what exactly is happening, and those complications make it fun, but the end isn’t really a surprise.  Oh, and there is no way the adults would go along with the ending either, at least the adults in the earlier books in the series.

And yet I have a very hard time hating a Trixie Belden book.  Oh, there are a couple I really can’t stand, but it is always fun spending time with these characters even when they aren’t at their best.  I’ve spent so much time with them over the years, too.  It does help that I first read this book not too long after reading the rest of the series.  Friends I know who read this book first as an adult years after completing the rest of the series hate it because it is so different than the earlier, better books.  But to me, it is only an average entry.

So I do recommend The Indian Burial Ground Mystery for fans of the series.  It’s not the best in the series, but it is fun.  Just take your time tracking it down and wait until you find a reasonably priced copy.

Looking for more of Trixie's Adventures?  Here are the Trixie Belden Mysteries in order.


  1. Somehow I missed the Trixie Belden series as a kid. I think I was in between their original publishing and the republishing and it was the days before Amazon so my options were pretty limited! Frequently in children's books I wonder where the adults are and what they're thinking but I think that's sometimes what makes it the most fun for kids! Great review and thanks for reminding me about this one. I've been wanting to try it.

    1. Sadly, I think Trixie will be forgotten as the books are out of print yet again. But I will do my part with these reviews. Definitely give her a try some time.

  2. I have the entire series & am contemplating selling them. Trixie has been a big part of my life since my mother have me my first one at age 7. It was .75. I've obtained most of the "child series" books and as I have no heirs, it will still be hard to part with them. I've not read the last two simply put of disgust that all the Bob-whites weren't in them.

  3. Thanks for your thoughts, Carstairs! The only one I'm missing is #39. Are you saying you have it? COOL!