Annette's Reviews > The Red Trailer Mystery

The Red Trailer Mystery by Julie Campbell
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Apr 27, 12

bookshelves: youth, mystery
Recommended for: pre-teen girls, nostalgic adults
Read in September, 2009

While I didn't read more than a book or two of this 1950's-era girls' mystery series as a child, I remembered it from a friend's library when I saw a bunch on close-out at Powell's for $1. I picked up a copy of the earliest number on the shelf to see if it might be suitable and enjoyable for my 8 year old niece.
Trixi and her friend Honey (yeah, really. "Buffy" doesn't seem quite so bad in this company...) are 13, and in this book are fresh from solving an important mystery that revealed the true identity of a friendly teen named Joe they'd met camping in their woods after he ran away from home. They're hunting for him again, this time with Honey's governess providing transportation (and very little else) in the family's travel trailer. Along the way they find yet another mystery to investigate concerning a trailer theft ring and a down-on-their-luck wandering family whose own trailer seems a bit too good to be true.
I actually found the book surprisingly enjoyable. Thoroughly dated as it is, it was fun to see the way the American culture was perceived and written for children 50+ years ago. Overall it's wholesome and reasonably well written without too much in the way of cringe-inducing dialog. I wonder, however, if my niece may find certain elements a tad bit unbelievable, though. Were 13 year old girls really allowed to rent horses and wander about through miles of woods without the slightest bit of supervision? Would anybody really hire a 15 or 16 year old boy for any sort of labor without ID or any sign of a parent or guardian? Were there really no *leash laws?* (Seriously, the girls let their dogs roam free wherever they choose through strange territory, and usually don't notice they're missing for hours or longer, then slap themselves on the forehead and say "oh, what bad pet owners we are. Oh well, we'll go look for him tomorrow!" This is central to the plot. Really.) I will probably give this book to my niece, but I have my doubts whether it will hold her attention against her current pre-teen talking animals and various mythological characters fantasy!
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