The Swift series ostensibly deals with a youngster of great technical talent, who turns out a new engineering marvel every few months. But the books are notable for their total lack of technical detail. Indeed, the reader has to work diligently even to get an idea what the various ingenious devices might look like. In the case of the great searchlight, we have no idea how large it is or the principle of its operation. Apparently, some fortuitous misconnection of wiring had produced a new kind of electric current that enabled an otherwise ordinary light source to produce extremely bright rays. The resulting searchlight is then deployed to apprehend some smugglers by being conveyed along the Canadian border in one of Tom's "aeroplanes." This is a craft that operates either as a sort of conventional plane or as a dirigible, depending on what the avionic situation calls for. How the thing is switched between depending on airfoils and propellers for its locomotion and relying on a gas bag is not gone into. In fact, it's hard to imagine the two modes of operation functioning efficiently in the same vehicle. It is a pleasure to publish this new, high quality, and affordable edition of this fantastic story.