#952 The Mystery of the Singing Ghost created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Mystery of the Singing Ghost created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Mystery of the Singing Ghost created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

<irritated>Short and abbreviated version of this post because WordPress ate my post.</irritated>

The Aldens are helping a family friend who bought a house that other people wanted to buy. They hear a girl singing and they wonder where it’s coming from. They also find a dress. Who used to live in this house? Is the person who wrote the diary and the letters still alive?

What I liked

I had this bit about how I liked learning about the history of old houses here. I think it’s neat that the Aldens did get to learn the history of a house in this story.

What I didn’t like

If someone else buys the house you want, you kind of just have to deal with it. You can’t go around trying to keep people away from it.

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What would you do if someone was terrorizing you because you bought the house they wanted?

Have you ever thought your house was haunted?

#951 The Mystery at Skeleton Point created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Mystery at Skeleton Point created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Mystery at Skeleton Point created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Aldens are visiting a friend who bought a piece of property. There’s a skeleton there. It’s not a real skeleton. It was used for educational purposes. It was kind of strange at first, but the children got used to it. They say hi to the skeleton whenever they pass it. There are some statues on the property and a mystery surrounding them. What’s going on?

What I liked

I think the skeleton is kind of neat. True story–I’ve been in a group photo involving a skeleton. Fun times.

What I didn’t like

Where does Grandfather go when his grandkids are pawned off on all kinds of other people? They’re with other people a lot of the time. What does Grandfather do? I imagine he probably swims in all of his money like Scrooge McDuck.

Overall

If you use a skeleton for decoration, people may think you’re weird.

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Would you use a skeleton as decoration?

Have you had any strange photo ops with anatomical models?

#949 The Zombie Project created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Zombie Project created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Zombie Project created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Aldens are spending some more time with friends. There is a lodge one of Grandfather’s friends owns. The Aldens want to do some fishing, but people keep seeing a zombie. Zombies can’t be real can they? What’s going on?

What I liked

This just wasn’t one of the Boxcar books that I liked very much.

What I didn’t like

I am not a fan of zombie anything. I find zombies to be highly unlikely as far as the world of supernatural creatures goes. I would almost say I could see vampires being real before I could see zombies being real. I think zombies are generally a silly idea. I know zombie movies and television shows are a trend right now, but I just can’t hop on board with any of it, including this book, which is obviously meant to cash in on the whole zombie idea.

Overall

Braaaaaaaiiiiinnnnnssss…these zombie stories rot my braaaaaaiiiinnsss.

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What do you think about zombie stories?

If you are favorable of zombie stories for reasons other than gore, what are your reasons? What makes zombies fascinating?

#948 Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

Meddling Kids by Edgar CanteroMeddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

It’s been years since the Blyton Summer Detective Club has gotten together. Each went their separate ways, including suicide and life in a mental institution, but it’s time to get back in the game. There are some strange things going on. Peter is dead, but Nate, Andi, and Kerri are alive, not necessarily well. There is also Tim, the weimaraner, the great-grandson of the original Sean who went on adventures with the kids, when they were kids. Things have certainly changed. The things they encountered in their younger years have left scars on each of them.

There’s a mystery they didn’t quite solve. It has to do with a creepy old mansion and an old woman. Things turn out to be even stranger than they ever imagined. This time, it’s not just someone in a mask. There is some real and terrible stuff going on. There are monsters and volcanoes and all manner of things four people and a dog would never expect to run into. Can they solve the mystery? Can they fix what is about to happen?

What I liked

I really liked Scooby Doo. This is very much the gang from Scooby Doo all grown up. I never really thought to stop and think about what effects such a strange life might have had on the teenagers involved. In the television series, most things were fake, except for the whacky races and the Boo Brothers. Most of the time it was just someone in a mask. I liked how this book was real.

Sometimes it is refreshing to have the thing, the question, the thought, the hypothesis actually turn out to be that strange thing. It doesn’t always have to be just one guy or a guy in a mask, maybe, just maybe, it really is some supernatural creature or happening. It can get old to read stories, over and over again, that always try to explain away the “woo” by blaming everything on one guy with an elaborate plot. While there certainly is an elaborate plot involved, there is certainly woo and it’s just not explained away.

I miss watching Scooby Doo. Why can’t someone put the cartoon on Netflix? I don’t care about the live-action movies at all.

This book also pokes at the possible relationships between the members of the group. Come on, we all know something has to be going on between at least two of them. I always figured Daphne and Fred would get together, but you know, maybe not.

What I didn’t like

I wish I would have had more time to read this book. I feel like there would have been more of it that I would have appreciated. The book also has a Lovecraft sort of feel, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you’re expecting run-of-the-mill woo, you’ll be disappointed. It’s definitely woo like the woo from the woo-master himself, H.P. Lovecraft.

Overall

I would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids…if I had a nickel for every time I’ve used this phrase in real life–I’d have no nickels; I’d be broke and I’d have to live under a bridge.

Weigh In

If you could solve mysteries with your friends, which friends would you pick and why?

Did you enjoy Scooby Doo?

#947 The Werewolf of Fever Swamp by R.L. Stine

The Werewolf of Fever Swamp by R.L. StineThe Werewolf of Fever Swamp by R.L. Stine

Grady and his family, including six deer from South America, have moved to Florida, the middle of nowhere Florida, not the beach Florida. There is nothing around but swamp. There are a few other houses and there’s not really much of a town to speak of. The local swamp is called Fever Swamp. Apparently, some time back people who had gone into the swamp had gotten a fever and starting acting strange.

Grady and his sister, Emily, explore the swamp not long after moving in, where they get lost and encounter a hermit who lives in the swamp.

The pair soon meet the other neighborhood children Will and Cassie. Will says Cassie is weird. She’s always talking about werewolves. The family also acquires a dog, a rather large dog. They hear howling in the night and wonder what it is. They soon start finding animals that have been torn to pieces. They’re not sure what that’s about either. One day one of the South American deer is torn to pieces. Everyone thinks the new dog has done it, but Grady soon finds out that this isn’t the case at all. It’s something much more horrible and unexpected.

What I liked

Florida is a strange place sometimes, why wouldn’t there be a werewolf down there? There are supposedly swamp monsters, after all.

Florida isn’t a place I think of as having “backwoods,” but it does. There is a whole interior of Florida that’s full of pine forests, and swamps, depending on where you’re at. I haven’t explored any Florida pine forests or swamps myself. I always went to the coast, or Orlando, when I went to Florida. I’ve lived in the South most of my life and Florida is a place that you don’t really consider “the South.” It’s just too full of people who moved there from somewhere else and so much weird stuff happens there that no one is really sure how to classify it. It doesn’t really fit it with any other region of the United States. It’s just its own thing.

What I didn’t like

Someone’s always got to blame the dog. I get it, sometimes dogs are jerks. They kill chickens or tear up the neighbor’s petunias, but it’s not always the dog. Maybe neighborhood hooligans did that thing. Maybe a bobcat did that thing. Maybe someone did that thing and is trying to blame it on the dog. Dogs aren’t without blame in many situations and they’re certainly a lot of upkeep, but the first response shouldn’t be to blame all the problems on the dog.

Overall

Just don’t go in the swamp; this solves a lot of issues, whether it’s werewolves or swamp creatures.

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Would you go live in the swamp?

Would your mosquito bites ever heal if you lived in the swamp?