Sunday, October 26, 2014

Book Review: The Mystery of the Ghostly Galleon by Kathryn Kenny (Trixie Belden #27)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Decent mystery; characters all present and mostly in character
Cons: A couple detours in plot; Trixie and Mart’s fighting
The Bottom Line:
Trip to pirate inn
Lands Trixie, friends in trouble
Strong later release

Disappearing Pirates and Reappearing Ships

Ghost ships.  While I’ve heard the term, I don’t think I’ve read too many books that involve those words.  The Mystery of the Ghostly Galleon is one obvious exception, and it is a very fun mystery from the Trixie Belden series.

If you aren’t familiar with this character, Trixie starred in her own middle grade mystery series, kind of like the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew, but with a much larger cast of friends and supporting characters.  Each character has strong personalities as well, making them seem more real to me.

Early in the series, Trixie and her friends formed a club, the Bob-Whites of the Glen.  These seven friends have all kinds of fun together between the mysteries that Trixie seems to drag them into.  Among the members are Trixie’s older brothers Mart and Brian and her best friend Honey Wheeler.  One other recurring character is Miss Trask, the manager of the Wheeler estate, who also acts as chaperon for some of the group’s trips.

Trixie and the rest of the Bob-Whites are reluctant to go along with Miss Trask on her visit to see her brother and the family home, an inn that Mr. Trask had finally turned around thanks to pirate theming.  However, she insists they come and she lures them there with a tale of her ancestor Captain Trask.  The captain was a pirate who vanished from the inn’s dining room in front of a crowd of people and no one knows how he did it.

When the group arrives, they soon realize that this old mystery is the least of their worries.  A series of strange accidents have been occurring.  There’s one guest who acts weird.  And that’s before Trixie and Honey witness a ship glowing in the darkness.  Is it a warning of more danger to come?

This late in the series, you never quite know what you will get in the way of character.  Some of the ghost writers who used the name Kathryn Kenny were fairly faithful to the original versions, but others obviously knew nothing about these characters.  Here, they are fairly good.  Honey’s a tad on the scared side, but it’s not that bad.  Worse is Trixie and Mart.  These siblings are often teasing and occasionally fighting with each other, but here it is a pretty steady theme.  It’s supposed to mirror Miss Trask’s own relationship with her brother, but it irritates me.  On the other hand, when they really need each other, the two are there without hesitation, which is always true to character, and something I have always loved about the books.

Also on the plus side, all seven of the Bob-Whites get to go.  This doesn’t often happen – heck, some authors find ways to get rid of characters even when they are home.  While not every one plays a large part in the story, it is nice to see them all.

The plot is decent, with some good twists and nice deductions by Trixie at the end.  Some of the other characters solve things along the way, too, and there is a few chapter detour that actually doesn’t add much to the story, but for the most part, it is fun and entertaining.  Even if you remember the big chunks of the plot, it’s fun to watch the characters figure it out all over again.
So while not the strongest entry in the series, it is still a fun book and a good one for this late in the series.  If you’ve met Trixie before, you need to solve The Mystery of the Ghostly Galleon.  And if you haven’t met her before, fix that today.  These mysteries and characters are still fun no matter how old you are.

And once you've met her, you'll want to read more Trixie Belden Mysteries.

This is the second in my two part Halloween edition of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.  Ironically, as part of this series, I'm not reviewing the book that actually takes place around Halloween.  Come back on Friday to see why I don't find it a Marvelous book.


  1. I had seen this series before, but never bothered to pick up even one book. Sounds intriguing enough to give it a try before year's end. Might be perfect for the mystery loving youngster or big youngster at heart in my case. Thanks for featuring.

    1. I always describe it as a Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew series with better characters. I fell in love with it when I found it as a kid, and I still love it today (obviously).

    2. Have you ever read the Three Investigators series? I really think you would like it considering how much you like Trixie