Vanishing Shadow

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The 38 books in the Judy Bolton mystery series, written by Margaret Sutton, sold millions of copies from 1932 to 1967. These books are now being reprinted by Applewood Books. I was curious to read The Vanishing Shadow, the first in the series, because the publisher claims that “Judy is a feminist in the best light — smart, capable, courageous, nurturing, and always unwavering in her true beliefs — a perfect role model.”

All of the Judy Bolton books are based on actual events. The Vanishing Shadow involves a new dam in a small Pennsylvania town. Judy, a high school girl, overhears some suspicious remarks regarding the dam construction, and she is kidnapped early in the book in an attempt to prevent her from revealing what she knows. The plot moves along briskly, with plenty of suspense.

I also enjoyed the varied and complex characters in this book. Judy is indeed fearless and intelligent. Yet she is also fallible. For example, she dares her meek brother to ride a dangerous horse, and when he takes her up on the dare and ends up lost when the dam breaks and floods the town, she experiences remorse at her rash words.

I don’t want to reveal too many of the plot features, because this really is a fun book, and I don’t want to ruin anyone’s enjoyment. Readers will also learn something about the social life and culture of small-town America in the 1930s.

The Judy Bolton mysteries are apparently the longest lasting juvenile series written by one author. There is even a web site for Judy Bolton fans.

You can buy this book from my girls list.