Sunday, June 18, 2017

Book Review: The Mystery of the Galloping Ghost by Kathryn Kenny (Trixie Belden #39)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: It’s Trixie
Cons: Few regular characters; mystery, while interesting, has weaknesses
The Bottom Line:
Final mystery
Finds Trixie facing a ghost
Weak, but kids will like

For Trixie’s Final Case, She Faces the Galloping Ghost

Sadly, all good things come to an end.  The thirty-ninth book in the Trixie Belden series would prove to be the last in the series.  Most fans hate The Mystery of the Galloping Ghost, but I must admit I enjoy it despite its issues.

This book finds fourteen-year-old Trixie Belden, her best friend Honey Wheeler, and the Wheeler’s groom Regan traveling to a horse ranch in Minnesota to observe their training techniques with the pure bread Arabian horses they own.

However, the first night they are there, Trixie sees a strange horse and rider out the window that then vanish.  It’s the next day she hears the local legend of the galloping ghost.  When she meets a ghost hunter and strange things start happening around the ranch, Trixie begins to think there might actually be a ghost haunting the place.  Can she figure out what is really happening?

As I said earlier, many fans of the series don’t like this book (or any of the final five).  They have some legitimate complaints, too.  This is the final book in the series, but the only regular characters we get are Trixie, Honey, and Regan.  Of course, when this book came out, it wasn’t supposed to be the final book in the series.  In fact, book forty was being written when the series was canceled.  (And it would have finally brought Trixie to California, too!)  They also complain about Honey’s crush on a character we meet in this book when it’s been established earlier in the series that Honey has a crush on Trixie’s older brother Brian.  Honestly, this one bothers me, but not too much.

One reason these issues stick out to people is that they read this book as an adult and as the final book in the series.  In fact, this book was in print for such a short amount of time that it can draw a large amount of money on the secondary market.  I think one reason I feel the way I do about this book is because I read it as a teen while I was reading the rest of the series, and I probably had about half the series still to go when I read it for the first time.  Additionally, I paid cover price.  I’m sure if I paid a much higher price for it and read it as an adult, I’d be disappointed in it as well.

Not to say that the book is perfect.  The mystery is flawed.  It didn’t bother me as a teen when I first read it, but now reading it as an adult, I can see some serious flaws with it.  It works, and I think kids won’t mind, so I’m willing to let it pass.  It certainly has some interesting elements to it.

I actually kind of like the characters in this book.  Trixie actually seems more aware of people’s feelings, something that is often missing in other books in the series.  Honey reverts to her fraidy cat persona at one point, but that’s actually understandable considering what is happening.  The characters aren’t as rich as they are in earlier books in the series overall, but they aren’t at their worst either.

I certainly don’t recommend paying a high price for this book, however.  It isn’t the worst in the series, in my opinion, but it isn’t worth paying much money to read, either.

With the right expectations, I still find The Mystery of the Galloping Ghost enjoyable.  While not Trixie’s best case, it is still a fun mystery for kids.

Here are the rest of the Trixie Belden Mysteries.

This review is part of this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.

3 comments:

  1. This is a series I somehow missed as a kid. I was obsessed with Nancy Drew and the Boxcar Children but never picked up these. I'm not sure if my library didn't have them or if I just overlooked them. I can see why people have so many issues with them but the mystery does sound pretty fun! I think I'll stick to libraries or used bookstores for this one though.

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  2. I was about 45 when I discovered the final five. And yes, I paid a lot of money for #39. (Discovered a copy for 25c at a garage sale down the street a month later!). I think Trixie Belden was my all time favorite series. They(1-15 or so) were reprinted a few years ago and we couldn't keep them in stock at the bookstore. Still a market for them.

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  3. I had never heard of this series, and it sounds good! (And if I like it, then I'll have a lot of books to read!) Thanks for the review!

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