Monday, April 20, 2009

Judy Bolton #9, The Mysterious Half Cat

This might have to be my favorite Judy Bolton book of the moment.

The book opens with Judy dreaming a strange dream in the hammock--Blackberry splits in half, with the tail end following Peter and the head end following Arthur. Judy buys a dream book from a beggar, trying to figure it out, while the boys are just concerned with which half of the cat contained the heart. *eye roll*

The Boltons are getting ready to welcome Dora "Scottie" Scott and her little sister Carol for a visit. She was friends with Judy in Roulsville and is now coming back from Alaska to look for relatives. Judy's excited to have her back at first, but Scottie is now moody and honestly pretty unpleasant most of the time. Carol has a bizarre brain malformation that makes her "language deaf" and needs expensive experimental surgery to fix it. Where, oh, where, can their old miserly grandfather be?

Judy tries to distract Scottie with a mystery. Wing Lee, the Chinese laundry man (almost as good as a Chinese cook!), has been hearing strange ghostly noises in his cellar every week. Judy lies in wait and hears them talking about splitting the cat in half. They decide that the beggar has something to do with the mystery and follow him to his house on upper Grove Street. Scottie's been excessively interested in the guy--I'm sure you can guess who he is. He gets beaten up by boys looking for his hidden riches. Judy's figured it all out by now, but the grandfather says he can't claim his family now that he's not got any money--he's not claimed them all along, because he's afraid they'll take his money, and now that he trusts them, he needs it back, to give them a show of faith. Yeah, weird/not much sense.

Of course, Judy scares the boys into giving the money back, she puts it in a bank, so that he won't be tempted back into his miserly ways, and Carol successfully has the surgery. The Scotts move into a house across the line on upper Grove Street, which furthers the Judy Bolton Gentrification Project, and everyone lives happily ever after.
  • I don't see how Lorraine ever agrees to marry Arthur a few books down the line. I mean, she's supposed to be so jealous, and Arthur only decides to marry her after Judy turns him down. He seems so clearly to prefer Judy in these early books.
  • Blackberry ex machina: he stays in the house with the beggar when he's injured. Judy et al. only discover the now seriously ill beggar in searching for Blackberry.
  • Peter doesn't show the night they sneak into the miser's basement.. Judy's so upset about him not coming (and possibly scaring them with his flashlight) that she CRIES. When they straighten things out, she apologizes and wants to know how she can make it up to him. He responds by kissing her in the middle of the road. *sigh*
  • When Judy asks Honey about where Peter was, she says, "You know yourself, Honey, that any kind of an adventure is lots more exciting to share with Peter than with Arthur." Was there ever any doubt about who she ends up with?
  • Everyone in these old books stays out as late as I ever did--parties end at two and three in the morning, they go breaking into houses at midnight. People in the thirties didn't have the eight o'clock curfews, only go with chaperones, etc. that you might expect.
  • It's a little odd to me that Horace, Peter, and Arthur, who are grown men with jobs/in law school, gallivant around with these high school girls. However, this happens all the time in pretty much any pre-1960 book, so I guess I should take it as gospel.
It's odd that I like this book so much when I think the main mystery (beggar/grandfather) is so stupid and the guest secondary characters (Scottie/Carol) are SO annoying. But to me, this is the last classic Judy mystery--she graduates from high school at the end of the book, and the next volume ushers in the whole engagement scenarios, and the next has her working for Peter, which starts off the whole pre-Roberta arc. This the last one with them all running around in a group, before a new crowd of secondary characters are ushered in. And, honestly, the kiss. It's almost as good as when Peter kisses her after she's nearly strangled to death in The Yellow Phantom. I love that she totally almost died, and all she can think about is how she can't wait to tell Pauline that Peter kissed her.

What can I say? I'm a sucker for romance. Nancy Drew would NOT approve. Anyway, next up, randomly enough, is a few volumes from a Canadian series, the Brad Forrest Adventure Series.

1 comment:

  1. What I didn't get later on was why Arthur ever asked Lorraine. Surely just because one girl doesn't want you doesn't mean you go flying into the arms of another? Also, since Arthur got injured in the mystery of the double ring (which was great), he seemed to like Lorraine more and find her more important. He was realy gutted over her disappearance, and he even said something like "no one understands like Lorraine" or something that made me think deep down he liked Lorraine better?
    Hmm...i'm not big on lovey-dovey books. But I did want to know why she chooses Peter over Arthur. Reading these on google books (which left out about half the series, though I'm grateful to find any at all) means you lose some of the continuity (which is something Trixies, as much as I love them for being so wholesome and chummy, does not have and it irks me how characters change eye colours and etc!). SO i wanted to know finally WHY she chooses Peter, although we all like him better =)

    By the way, nice blog. Great reviews , you always know how much information to give, and it looks good too.


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