In the first book of this mystery series, Judy Bolton is resigned to spending several boring weeks at her grandparents' farm near Dry Brook Hollow. Her summer suddenly becomes interesting when she overhears some men talking about the Roulsville dam. Although, Judy does not understand the conversation, the men fear that she does and threaten her. Judy also becomes reacquainted with her childhood friend, Peter Dobbs, who gives her a cat that she names Blackberry, and meets the wealthy siblings, Arthur and Lois Farringdon-Pett. As the days pass, Judy learns that the Roulsville dam is cracked and may break during the next rain. The moment of truth arrives when a torrential downpour threatens the dam and Judy must rely on her seemingly cowardly brother Horace to warn the people of Roulsville of the danger. All Judy can do is hope that the dam holds long enough for Horace to warn the townspeople in time.
|Series:||Judy Bolton Mysteries Series|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)|
|Age Range:||9 - 12 Years|
About the Author
Margaret Sutton was born Rachel Irene Beebe in Odin, Pennsylvania in 1903. She was the daughter of Victor Beebe, a well-known historian, and Estella Andrews Beebe. Being a spirited nonconformist, she dropped out of high school, but in 1920, graduated from the Rochester Business Institute. After graduation, she worked for several years as a secretary and in printing. During that time, she met William Sutton at a church dance in New York City. After a courtship exchanging poems and playing chess, they were married in 1924, and she began writing stories for her husband's daughter, Dorothy. Her first Judy Bolton Mystery was published in 1932 under the pen name Margaret Sutton. Ms. Sutton wove many real events and places into the Judy Bolton stories through the 35-year history of the series. She also wrote numerous stories for children and young adults. She was also active in social causes, joining the historic March on Washington in 1964. In 1965, her husband of more than 40 years died. In 1975, after traveling extensively, she married a long-time family friend, Everett Hunting. They moved to Berkeley, California and made their home there until 1993 when they moved back to Pennsylvania. Mr. Hunting died shortly after they moved. In 2001, at the age of 98, Margaret Sutton died in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, not far from her native Potter County.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Judy Bolton is a fifteen-year-old who knows what she wants - and she's not afraid of anyone, or anything. In The Vanishing Shadow, the first book in the Judy Bolton series, we meet Judy, her older brother Horace, and several other characters who we will see in other stories. When the tale opens, Judy is lamenting the fact that her parents have gone away on vacation and she and Horace have to stay with her grandmother in boring old Dry Brook Hollow. Judy would much rather be home in Roulsville, but she's stuck and has to make the best of it. Because Dry Brook Hollow isn't far from Roulsville, Judy knows many of the people around town. While talking to Edna Jenkins, the storekeeper's daughter, the pair overhear two workman arguing. The bigger of the two workman, the one who was clearly in charge, sees Judy and Edna and tells them to keep quiet and forget about what they just saw/heard. Both girls agree, but inquisitive Judy will soon be up to her neck in the dangerous dealings of the workman. While sitting alone in a beech grove, trying to read one of the books her father left her, a shadow crossed the page. Judy looks around but can't find anybody. Trying to read again, the shadow once again passes across the page and Judy looks up just in time to see the bushes part. Without much thought, Judy jumps up and follows the path of the person who had just been spying on her. But it was a foolish action because that person soon gains the upper hand when he kidnaps Judy and briefly imprisons her in a small, abandoned building. After a frightening night alone in the abandoned building (really more of a room), Judy's captors return and convince her to make an unfortunate promise. Once the promise is made, they release Judy, but now she must solve the mystery of what these men were doing without breaking her promise. She soon learns the truth and realizes that it involves the local dam and could kill many townspeople. Will she be able to stop these men in time to save the lives of many people? Originally published in 1932, The Vanishing Shadow is a good, wholesome teen mystery "like they used to write." The writing is solid, and while some of the words and phrases may be a bit outdated, the book offers an excellent opportunity for readers to expand their vocabulary and learn a bit about what life was like back in the 30s (for instance, while many travel by car, Judy rides her rather unruly colt all around town). There are a few holes in the plot that some readers may question, the biggest being why Judy would not tell any adults about the evil plot, just because she made a promise to the culprits. Surely, with lives at stakes, breaking a promise to a criminal is allowable. Otherwise, however, this is a nice introduction to the characters who make up a YA series that sold millions of copies during its heyday. Quill says: A few plot problems but don't let that keep you from getting hooked on the Judy Bolton series.