Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The Mystery Of The Flaming Footprints

During my last read-a-thon (1993-1995), this book fared worst of all but reading it again 14+ years later, I think I was a little harsh back then. Certainly, the plot (and it’s been so long since I read it, I’d completely forgotten what happens) is thin (the flaming footprints aren’t really explained until much later and there’s a lot of coincidence), but that’s more than made up for in the characterisation, the repartee between the investigators (though Pete gets short-changed) and the general atmosphere that Carey conjures up, especially the way she expands Rocky Beach for the reader. Essentially, the boys are hired to try to find The Potter, who’s run away just as his never-seen daughter and grandson appear, a happenstance that coincides with new people in town, all of whom have an interest in The Potter’s house. I thought this was well-written, it had some nice little set-pieces and it kept my attention, so well worth the re-appraisal, in my opinion.


  1. I have to disagree with you on this one. There are a few things that are a little far fetched but this is a good story. It would be in the middle of the pack in terms of my favorites.

  2. I was reading the correspondence between Carey and the publishers regarding this book on one of the 3I sites out there the other day. One criticism from Germany was the invented country. This is an extremely negative recurring theme in MVC's books, the invented country. In Haunted Mirror there are turgid pages where characters discuss the constitution of Ruffino. The only invented country I liked was Varania, and that was because the boys visited it. But all the shallow references to a "foreign power" in MVC's books are a real bore.

  3. I found this book unsatisfying. I remember buying this and shrinking house from WhSmiths out of hard earned pocket money. They were the only 2 paperbacks they had. Weak plot and the contrived country don't convince. Rare disappointment from an excellent first 25 books

    Top blog Mark!

    Cheers Sonny

  4. I remember thinking this was one of the weaker ones. Did Ally Jamieson first appear here?