39: THE MYSTERY OF THE CHINESE JUNK

39

 

Who Wrote It?: Franklin W. Dixon

C’mon, Who Really Wrote it?: James D. Lawrence in 1960.  His third of three in a row.

Was It Revised?: No.  There will be no more revisions from here on out.  When we reach 1960, we reach the final versions of these classic tales.

Cover: Rudy Nappi.  A realism cover with classic red and yellow.  Frank and Joe are staring at a junk.  It’s OK, not my favorite.

Setting: Bayport, with a brief sojourn to Staten Island, New York to buy the junk.  

Where’s Fenton This Time?: California.  With the missus.  He never shows up.

Which Chums Show Up?: Chet, Tony, Callie, Iola . . . and Biff!  Mr. Lawrence does like Biff after all!

What’s Chet’s Hobby This Time?: Spelunking.  You know, exploring caves.  No, no matter how often Chet will wind up in a cave throughout the rest of the series, rest assured his knowledge of spelunking will be ignored.  

Aunt Gertrude’s Dessert: Wow!  We hit the jackpot here.  Angel cake on one occasion.  Then strawberry shortcake.  Then chocolate pies.  Finally on the last occasion we get ice cream.  It’s as if Mr. Lawrence tried to make up for his lack of Aunt Gertrude cooking by shoving every dessert in the world in this book.  Ol’ Gerty is cooking up a storm in this book.

Plot: The boys have a chance to buy a Chinese Junk, and they decide that this would be a great way to spend their summer by ferrying passengers around the Bay and making some bucks.  But the moment they buy the ship, everyone else suddenly needs that ship for some unknown reason.  Death threats follow.

Review:  An OK story that takes place in Bayport with the usual gang.  The bad guys do the usual rough stuff, and the goal is the usual treasure that is treated like a MacGuffin.  And there is increasing awareness of cultural sensitivity.  In the old days this first sentence would not have been followed by this second sentence:

“Welcome aboard, honored guys,” Joe said solemnly, bowing low in Oriental manner.

The Chinese-American lad chuckled.  “Boy, that’s corny enough for a Grade D movie about China!”

OK, they are trying.

Score: 6