#807 The Mystery at the Crooked House created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Mystery at the Crooked House created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Mystery at the Crooked House created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Aldens are visiting another friend. This friend has a crooked house. The man who made it wasn’t a carpenter, so some things aren’t entirely straight. The family member who currently lives there, rents rooms out, like a bed and breakfast. The problem is that there is a new hotel or something in the area and people may not want to stay in the crooked house, which could mean that the family would lose the house because they couldn’t afford the upkeep. Supposedly, there is a secret to the house, complete with riddles. The secret may just save the crooked house.

What I liked

I like the idea of a crooked house. One time, I went to Blowing Rock, North Carolina. There is a crooked house there. It’s called the Mystery Vortex; it’s not that far from the Tweetsie amusement park. Anyway, there is nothing mysterious about it. It’s not ghosts that made it all wonky. Someone built it at odd angles that trick your brain. You think you see water going uphill and brooms standing on their own and all sorts of things. It’s all a trick of perspective. You know it’s all scientific when you get there, but it doesn’t stop you from being completely disoriented by it.

What I didn’t like

Just make a few substitutions in this book and you’ll have the last Boxcar Children book I read. We might lose the house. Oh no! Someone is being nefarious about the house for selfish reasons. Oh no! There’s a secret treasure to the house that just might resolve everything. Yippee! Seriously, all you need are a few substitutions and you have the other book. Whoever wrote this one got a little lazy.


They found the treasure.

Weigh In

Do you think all old houses should have a mystery?

Should the house always get saved?

#806 The Mystery at Peacock Hall created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Mystery at Peacock Hall created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Mystery at Peacock Hall created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Aldens are going to Monticello, to visit somebody grandfather knows. She lives pretty close to Monticello and actually works there. In case you didn’t know, Monticello is the house that Thomas Jefferson designed, and worked on for many years, in addition to getting in on with his special ladies there. There are plenty of quirky things about Monticello, as the Aldens soon find out. Thomas Jefferson was an inventor. He tried to invent a clock, but part of it ended up on a different floor.

The problem with the whole thing is that their host is about to lose her house. She owes some back taxes. Another relative wants to buy her out, for a fraction of what it’s worth. She has until the auction to pay the taxes. Her house is called Peacock Hall. Supposedly, there’s a treasure in the house somewhere. The Aldens set about looking for it in hopes that the tax bill can be paid. Some other strange stuff goes on as well. Someone may or may not be living in the smoke house. Is there really a treasure of Peacock Hall? Will that peacock let Benny have one of his feathers?

What I liked

Ok, so the part about Thomas Jefferson getting it on with his special ladies at Monticello was not actually in this book, but I thought I’d enlighten anyone who didn’t know. Thomas Jefferson had at least one child, that looked a lot like him, besides the obvious difference in skin colors, with one of his slaves.

What I didn’t like

Property taxes are stupid. So you buy a house and then you pay it off, but you still have to pay the government, every single year, otherwise they’ll take your house, even though it’s good and paid for. Jerks. I think if you own your house, you own your house, or you should own your house. There shouldn’t be any of this, “Oh, you forgot to pay your taxes, so we’re auctioning off your house, even though the taxes you owe are like a thousand dollars, which is a small fraction of what the house is worth and what you’ve paid on it.” This is just one example of how our government infrastructure is a bit broken. A lot of those property taxes go to schools, but you still have to pay property taxes even if you don’t make use of the schools in any manner.

I don’t find it likely that the woman in this story would be offered any kind of extension, especially since an auction was already scheduled. I think the government would just be like, “Too bad, you had your chance.” They don’t care if you’re losing a house that has been in the family for generations.


If only there was some mystery treasure in the house I live in.

Weigh In

Do you like peacocks?

What do you think about property taxes?

#801 The Mystery of the Stolen Sword created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Mystery of the Stolen Sword created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Mystery of the Stolen Sword created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Aldens are on vacation, but of course they find a mystery. It turns out that someone is stealing antiques. There is also supposed to be a ghost. There is some talk about an old sword and hard feelings were developed because of it. 

The Aldens start poking around and things are missing. What’s the big deal about this sword?

What I liked

I mean, I guess this was interesting. 

What I didn’t like

I wasn’t really feeling this one, in fact, I had to look up what it was about after I read it. That’s how much this book didn’t keep my attention. Someone needed some money, so they stole stuff, big deal. 


Hide your kids; hide your old junk.

Weigh in

Would you be upset if someone stole your old stuff?

Is it ever permissible to steal?

#800 The Midnight Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Midnight Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Midnight Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Alden children are going to an invention convention. The idea is that people can enter inventions and other people will look at them. They’re staying at a locally famous inventor’s house. There are all sorts of interesting things there. There are clocks that do things that clocks don’t normally do.

The children find a book of rhymes, for children, which seem kind of nonsense, but when they start hearing about a plan book that is missing, the Aldens start poking around. The rhyme has something to do with 12 o’clock. Which clock? Which 12? What’s going on?

What I liked

I like the idea of being creative and inventing things. I consider myself highly intelligent and I like the idea of being an inventor. My boyfriend, Grizzly Pirate Wynn, recently lost his father, who was an inventor, like a real-life, honest to God, inventor. Hearing about all the things he’s invented, make me feel like a slacker. I’m not an engineer, by any means, but I wouldn’t mind being an inventor.

I think it’s great that this book encourages kids to wonder how things work and wonder if they can make something better.

What I didn’t like

As usual, there was some fuddy-duddy who decided that they had an issue with something someone else was doing and tried to cause problems.

How about just not being a jerk? It could solve a whole lot of problems.


I would hide something weird in a clock.

Weigh In

What would you invent, if you could?

Is science an area you feel children should be more encouraged in?

#796 The Panther Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Panther Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler WarnerThe Panther Mystery created by Gertrude Chandler Warner

The Aldens are going to Florida. Benny wants nothing more than to see a real live alligator. The reason the Aldens are going to Florida is because one of Grandfather’s friend’s kids, a park ranger, is missing, well, he didn’t turn up for work and he hadn’t for several days. The Aldens know him as responsible, even though a fellow park employee paints him in a less than stellar light.

The Aldens meet a girl from the Panther tribe. She says she knows the missing park ranger. They also talk about Florida panthers, which are rare. Many of them are chipped and tracked. It seemed that the missing ranger was rather interested in them. Benny changes his mind. He wants to hear a panther now, because alligators are boring. The Alden family venture into the swamp, on a camping trip, to find a missing ranger.

What I liked

The bit about the panthers was neat. I knew of them, but not a lot. My uncle actually saw one around a place I used to live. They’re fairly rare these days.

What I didn’t like

This wasn’t a huge mystery.


A Florida mystery–more like–where’d Fluffy go? Oh, he got eaten by an alligator.

Weigh In

What is your opinion on panthers?

Do you like Florida orange juice?