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The Rainbow Riddle
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#17: Rainbow Riddle > Chapter 11: The Rainbow Riddle - Summary

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William Land (williamland) | 1081 comments Mod
Chapter 11: The Empty House

“Peter,” Judy asked the next day after they started out from the hotel in Albany and crossed the Hudson River, “ do we go through Connecticut on our way to NY? This road map looks like we could without going too much out of our way. I was thinking that it would be a good idea to stop off and see if Roberta got home safely.” “Now you're talking! Peter exclaimed. “I was hoping you would be the one to suggest it.“ ” Would you have suggested it if I hadn't? ” ”Possibly, you‘re missing some swell scenery, I thought you were going to tell me when we were about to come to a river or lake.” The previous day, Judy had made a little game of anticipating what was coming according to the map and then they would act surprised to see it. “Funny thing, those guys that make the map must do a lot of traveling,” joked Peter. They rode leisurely through Massachusetts, stopping to buy souvenirs. It was late in the afternoon when they crossed into Connecticut and turned toward the little town where Roberta lived. It started to rain and Judy joked that the map didn't tell them it was going to rain. Soon they came to the house with the barred window.

Peter asked Judy if she was afraid, she answered that heavens no, that mystery was solved. The house looked lonelier than ever and Judy guessed that Miss Bradley might have moved to NYC like Judy had suggested. Judy was happy about that but sad that Roberta’s only friend would be gone. “She’s the only friend Roberta had in the whole town. That’s why Roberta appealed to me I guess. She seemed so lonely and misunderstood. There! The house doesn't look so lonely now that the sun is out. It might be a pleasant place for a man with a family. If Roberta had someone to play with---” Judy was saying. “That’s just it, ” agreed Peter. “The little girl needs playmates. She needs affection too. From what I know of Mrs. Griggs, I doubt if she is capable of being very affectionate.” Judy agrees and said Mrs. Griggs didn't seem to miss Roberta while she was away, most people would have had the police searching. Judy then gave a gasp of surprise when she noticed another rainbow had formed. Peter asked her what it was that she had said before -that rainbows brought her luck? Judy reminded him that it was unexpected happiness - not luck. The rainbow ends just after the fourth house. That was the Griggs house. The fourth house was the last in a row of similar houses. Beyond was the railroad station and the general store. It was a neat little town with a white church in the exact center. The church steeple cut straight through the rainbow. It was beautiful and terrifying at the same time as the lights played a strange game with the shadows of the trees and buildings. Everything looked unfamiliar. The Griggs house looked empty. The door was standing open and a large for sale sign decorated the outside. The windows, bare of curtains, were like sightless eyes. Judy and Peter are a little shocked. The house looked spooky. A man had just run through the field back of the house and was at the moment attempting to climb the fence behind it. Peter called to him and asked if he were Mr. Griggs. (Then is the scene on the dust jacket.) The man came back rather sheepishly and Judy noticed the man was perspiring a lot for a day like it was. The rain had cooled things . He asked Judy & Peter if they were looking for Griggs too. He said everyone was - the grocer, the electric company, the gas company, the phone company. They had bought everything on credit including the furniture they had hauled away in the night. He didn’t know when it was, no one saw the moving van. The man was from the real estate office. He said they owed back rent but that the company would probably never get paid. He also said most people wouldn’t rent a house with a ghost. He looked a little sorry that he had said that when he asked if they were looking for a house. “Hardly,” answered Peter. “We have a house. My wife’s grandmother left it to her when she died and it wouldn’t surprise me if it had a ghost of its own. Frankly the idea appeals to me.” The real estate man told Peter & Judy that the house seemed empty enough, every room was vacant but he could hear something wailing like a banshee. “It was walking too, not walking but running. It was when I heard the thing coming downstairs bumping something along behind it that I took to my heels.” “My wife and I might help you find this ghost. We’ve explored quite a few haunted houses. Usually the ghosts turn out to be fairly good company.” Judy liked the way Peter said ‘my wife and I’ in that proud voice. Then they heard a long drawn out cry. “What’s that?” gasped Judy. “The house can’t be empty after all!”

Do you think Peter was hoping to keep Roberta all along and was just waiting and hoping to see if Judy would be willing and hopefully suggest it first? He may have thought it would be good company for Judy since she would be alone so much, but it is a lot for a newly married couple to take on.


William Land (williamland) | 1081 comments Mod
I like that Judy related to Roberta because she felt the young girl was "lonely and misunderstood." This comments brings the reader back to the very first book in the series in which Judy was very lonely and misunderstood during the long summer at her grandparents' farm at age 15. I love how often and easily Margaret brings her readers to past books and and the heroine's feelings and adventures.

How typical of the newlyweds to want to live in a house with a ghost! Margaret is also foreshadowing the events for a future mystery: #23: The Black Cat's Clue.

Roberta makes a wonderful addition to Judy and Peter as a small family. Their love is particularly demonstrated during the events in #18: The Living Portrait and #19: The Secret of the Musical Tree.


message 3: by Faye (new)

Faye Kisker | 257 comments Judy said that she was sad that Alice Bradley, Roberta's only friend was gone. But Roberta didn't even know what she looked like and Alice said she didn't know the girl.


message 4: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 823 comments Faye wrote: "Judy said that she was sad that Alice Bradley, Roberta's only friend was gone. But Roberta didn't even know what she looked like and Alice said she didn't know the girl."

Good point.


J. Michael | 130 comments William wrote: "I love how often and easily Margaret brings her readers to past books and and the heroine's feelings and adventures."

That's a true and important point, William. It's one of the reasons the entire series resonates so strongly with me. The back of some of the picture cover printings invited readers to "grow up with Judy Bolton," and in a very real sense, I did! The books were an integral part of my childhood and adolescence, and have remained so for over 50 years.


William Land (williamland) | 1081 comments Mod
J. Michael wrote: << ... The back of some of the picture cover printings invited readers to "grow up with Judy Bolton," and in a very real sense, I did! ...>>

I never had the opportunity to "grow up with Judy Bolton" because the series was largely out-of-print when I discovered it; some new copies were sold in some stories, but I suspect these were remaindered.

I would read anything resembling a series book as a teenager. If I didn't have a new to me book to read, I would re-read ones I had already enjoyed.

In the bookshelves of family and friends, or from classmates, and one "new to me" purchase, I was able to read some Judy Bolton books:
2. The Haunted Attic
17. The Rainbow Riddle
18. The Living Portrait
19. The Secret of the Musical Tree
29. The Clue of the Broken Wing
and, possibly, but I can't clearly remember:
1. The Vanishing Shadow (original text).

The first five books are among my favourites in the series and the reason why I sought them as an adult collector. I'm not overly fond of the first 12 books and wonder if I had been exposed to them in childhood and not the others which I loved, would I have sought out Judy Bolton? Likely, because as an adult collector, I've tried series which I didn't know about as a child. I like most of them.

As I've said on list before, I think the best Judy Bolton books were published during the 1940s and 1950. Margaret consistently offers consistently excellent plots from #13: The Name on the Bracelet and #25: The Haunted Road. I enjoy these books very much with one exception: #22: The Spirit of Fog Island.

I didn't "grow up with Judy Bolton" (love the tagline), but I'm surely glad that I got to read about all of her adventures as an adult.


message 7: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Sweet | 170 comments I grew up with several of the early books that my mother gave me from her childhood, as well as 2 Dana Girls and several Nancys. I loved them all and my favorites are early books I read first. I didn't find #1 and #2 until I was an older teen.
I think I told this story. I had up to Midnight Visitor and my new college roommate also had Nancy and Judy from her mom! She brought back Name on the Bracelet for me to read, as it was her favorite. Is it any wonder we are still friends 50 years later?


William Land (williamland) | 1081 comments Mod
Cindy wrote: <<" ... my new college roommate also had Nancy and Judy from her mom! She brought back Name on the Bracelet for me to read, as it was her favorite. Is it any wonder we are still friends 50 years later?>>

This is a wonderful story! Definitely a friendship to treasure! This young woman was a kindred spirit to you, Cindy!


message 9: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Sweet | 170 comments Most absolutely. We each brought back books and would lay in our beds at night reading series books.


message 10: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 823 comments Cindy wrote: "Most absolutely. We each brought back books and would lay in our beds at night reading series books."

I can just imagine the joy of doing that.


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