Friday, April 23, 2010
Trixie Belden #2: The Red Trailer Mystery
I bring you the next installment of my Trixie Belden reviews. If you need to catch up, clue in here. Trixie, best friend Honey and Miss Trask, Honey's governess, are driving all over in Honey's parents' trailer, trying to find the girls' mutual friend, Jim, who ran away, fearful of his stepfather and unaware that he's an heir to a good bit of money.
Mystery starts right away. Their neighbors in the first trailer camp they park in are very strange. The Robin is a fancy red trailer, but oddly enough (to Trixie and co.), the family is unhappy, unsociable; despite their flashy vehicle, the family is poorly dressed; and the husband is unkind to the wife (in a rated-G kind of way).
But one night, Trixie finds the husband crying at night (he is unaware that Trixie overheard him). Crying! A man crying! GASP! How dare a man cry! But Trixie really wants to help the family's two girls, especially the typical cutsie-pie, sweet, innocent little girl.
The older girl runs away, upset by her family's weirdness. The little girl, on the verge of a life of thievery ;), steals Honey's puppy. The "Robin family" soon leaves after Honey gets her puppy back. Trixie, Honey and Miss Trask leave a little later, continuing the search for Jim.
At the next camp, the girls obtain horses and ride around in the woods in a random search for Jim. As they are riding, a state trooper informs them about some camping-trailer thefts. One trailer especially (for some reason) is the biggest on the hit list--a red trailer called The Robin!
Trixie & Honey think they don't have enough evidence (even though the red trailer in camp was called The Robin) to "betray" the family that lives in the said trailer. They decide to let the troopers keep working on the case. After all, the two friends surmise, if the man of the pitiful family did steal it, he had to. Even though it was wrong, he was desperate because he was homeless...I can actually understand Trixie's and Honey's reasoning.
Gaah, I'll get it over with now. Eventually the girls find Jim and the older girl, Joeanne, camping together in the woods. But this is after Trixie & Honey, in running into an abandoned barn to get out of the rain, discover two men arguing over plans for the trailer-theft racket! They were accidentally discovered and despite Trixie's good attempts to help herself and Honey get away, they almost got in major trouble...until at the deus ex machina moment, some troopers burst in to arrest them (the thieves, not the two girls. :p ).
Everyone involved in the mystery learns that the police were tipped off to the trailer thieves from an anonymous tip by Joeanne's father. Eventually the Robin's owner forgives the family and says he (the owner) shouldn't have left the keys in the ignition. Besides, he understands why Mr. Darell needed to "borrow" it.
Jim is adopted by Honey's parents. Yipppee! Gag. This was so saccharine and contrived...I don't know why. The plot wasn't any more ridiculous than a Nancy Drew plot. Maybe it was because Trixie and Honey are fourteen y/o and the idea of Miss Trask driving them all around different towns to search the countryside for Jim just doesn't float. And everything comes out a little too "adorably right" in the end, even for a children's series book.
(Cover image courtesy of Series Books for Girls)