299B: Abandoned Gothic Mansion Mystery (Solved)

I read this book late 90’s / early 2000’s (1998-2002), but the book could have been written any time in the 90’s.  I know it was a mystery book aimed at 10-15 year olds, the main character was a boy who was about 13.  (there may have been a female character too)  The boy explores / investigates this abandoned gothic mansion, coming across clues as he does so.  One of the clues is the word “Boss Stone” which eventually he realizes is the architecture term (“knob or protrusion of stone or wood”).  He realizes that there is a “boss stone” located on the ceiling in the main room of the mansion, and once he gets access to it there is something hidden behind it.  The only other part i remember is that the building is haunted / guarded by this cloaked figure that has a tentacle.

298L: A treasure in a monastery garden

The book I am thinking about would have been published before 1968 I believe because i read it when I was about eight or nine in 1967.  I live in England.  I believe i borrowed it from the library or the school library.

The book was about a group of children staying in an old Abbot’s house or at least close to an old monastery.  Virtually all I can remember of the plot was the finding of an old map in a settle in the house, which led them to find treasure in the monastery garden. I seem to remember the treasure was actually from the church and it was important for some reason that it had been found.

I know it is very little to go on!

Thanks

298G: The Perfect Dress (Solved)

I am searching for a book I read as a young elementary school student in the late 60s but the target audience was a little older, perhaps middle school girls.  I think the book would have been published somewhere between the mid 50s and early 60s. Even in 1969/1970 it felt slightly dated.

Here are some facts I remember:

1) The protagonist was a young (13-15) teen girl and the book may have been part of a series (of either books or movies-not Giget.) Or maybe not.

2) The setting was very much all-American, white picket fences.

3) Our heroine was very excited to be invited to the out of town wedding of her older male cousin.

4) Although I can’t remember the name of the protagonist or her family, the bride’s name was Joan. At one point she shows her mother a picture of a bride in a magazine and asks “Do you think Joan will wear a dress like that?” To which Mom replies non-committally “Perhaps.”

5) Much of the book is about the struggle to find an appropriate dress for our heroine to wear to the wedding.

6) The perfect dress is actually found at a thrift store or among clothes that the mother is collecting for a charity drive, a seamstress makes some adjustments, and she loves it.

7) At the pre-wedding festivities the protagonist becomes friends with a similarly aged girl who I think is the bride’s sister/cousin and who is a junior bridesmaid in the wedding.

8) Unfortunately, they forget to pack the perfect dress. Much sadness ensues.

9) The junior bridesmaid becomes sick and our heroine is called upon to fill in.

10) The bridesmaid’s dress is green velvet with a little velvet toque.

And that’s it, that’s all I’ve got.  I borrowed the book over and over from the library, but the dust cover was missing so I don’t even know what it looked like.  Even though it doesn’t sound like much, I loved it and would like to read it again.  Thanks for any help you can provide!

297S: Star-Shaped Key (Solved)

I am looking for a book targeted at, I think, 10-to-12-year-olds, which I suspect was published between 1965 and 1980.  I think the protagonists were a brother and sister who for some reason were spending some months (summer vacation?) in a remote location, which I believe was mountainous.  The permanent inhabitants were faced with a problem that I do not remember but which I believe involved water.  A recurring plot point was that the young boy was taught to play draughts and was challenged to improve–this name for the game may mean that, though I read the book in a U.S. library, it was a British book.  The problem was solved through the use of a key with a star-shaped end which was inserted into a rock face and turned.

As a final detail, I believe the cover of the book was mostly a picture, drawn in blue and white.

297L: Cuttyhunk Island

The book that I am trying to find was purchased via scholastic books (or similar) in the 1978-1979

school year. Probably Spring ’79.  It was young adult fiction and either the back cover or the description said “Rites of Passage” (then something about learning to drive,graduating,etc.)

The book began with the heroine and her family cleaning out a beloved family cabin or cottage. Her grandmother had just died and she was having trouble dealing with it. A female cousin shows up and they don’t really like each other. Later in the book they become close.The cousin has become cool by sewing shift dresses for classmates. The dresses are unique because she added a pop art twist to

each dress. The cousin would appliqué a hamburger up by a shoulder or a little snake at the waist.

The heroine is dating / deciding between two boys. One is a freshman at MIT / ridiculously smart. One of them gives her a rock from Cuttyhunk Island. I had never heard of this Island and was taken with the idea that it could produce perfectly round rocks because of tides and gravity,etc. For a work of fiction,it explained it pretty well.

The heroine keeps the rock as a talisman ( learned that word from the book ) and at the end of the book throws it into the sea because she doesn’t need it any longer.

That is all that I remember. Thank you for your help.

296X: Yellow Cape/Yellow door

This book was on the shelves of the library of my middle school in the early 60’s.  I would find it by the cover, which I think showed a tree with a round door.  Not unlike Hobbiton, the story was about small people and their society.  They lived in hollow trees. The thing I remember best is that the individuals wore capes that matched the color of their front door.

 

296W: Sci-Fi Retelling of Homer’s The Odyssey

I read this in the late 1970s. A 12ish year old boy living in a rural area of the US notices small lakes are disappearing in his area. He deduces that aliens are stealing the water to use for fuel and starts watching for their ship, which he boards when he sees it. The ship takes off while he is aboard and the rest of the book is his adventures in trying to return home. There are other abductees from other planets already on board who become his crew. It is a loose re-telling of Homer’s The Odyssey in that the boy travels from planet to planet aboard the ship and encounters people who are recognizably the Lotus-Eaters, the Cyclops, Circe, etc. Because it’s a children’s book, many of the details are toned down. For example, the Cyclops had poor vision and thus needed to wear a thick lens to see, which the adventurers broke to “blind” him. I remember very well there was a full-page painting of the boy in the Cyclops cave, which might have been the cover of the book.