Wednesday, 10 November 2010

The Secret Of Phantom Lake

Well, I started my reading year with a cracker here. The boys are on a buying trip with Aunt Mathilda when they run into Java Jim, who desperately wants an old chest belonging to Angus Gunn. He had a house on Phantom Lake and it was rumoured he’d buried treasure on the property, but no-one has ever found it. Taking in a ghost town, a trip to (real locations, I discovered, in) Santa Barbara and several cases of mistaken identity, this is a cracking adventure, told with flair and originality from start to finish. There’s good interplay between the boys (including a couple of comedy moments), it’s a good mystery, there’s a great atmosphere (the use of Christmas lights, plus the weather) and there’s a nicely spooky sequence amongst the cypress trees on Cabrillo Island. Very much recommended.


  1. This is one of my favorites. It is a great story and a good balance between humor and adventure.

  2. As I'm Scottish, I wasn't too keen on this book. First of all, I never met anyone called Cluny and I've never heard anyone say "Ye'll no talk." Even when I was ten years old I remember getting upset about this. It would be like setting a story in New York and having the characters say "How y'all doin' boys?" and justifying it by claiming that I heard Daisy duke say it, so that's American English.

  3. I reread this book yesterday and today and I'm sorry to say that I can't agree with you on its originality. Once again William Arden resorts to rubber masks. Another reused plot device is that of Moaning Cave, witha seemingly respectable professor turning out to be the crook that is disguised with the rubber mask. Rory's Scottish dialect is unconvincing and there seems to be little depth to the story. I wouldn't give it even five out of ten.