Monday, July 13, 2020

Review of "The Case of the Missing Message: A Brains Benton Mystery," by Charles Spain Verral

Review of

The Case of the Missing Message: A Brains Benton Mystery, by Charles Spain Verral

Five out of five stars

 Jimmy Carson (Operative 3) and Barclay (Brains) Benton, also known as “X” together form the Benton and Carson International Detective Agency. Both are adolescent boys and as his name implies, Brains is very smart. Using spare parts and scavenged junk, Brains has turned part of his parents’ garage into a true secret agent lair. There is an electronic alarm, secret doors and hideaways and Brains has made things to battle the bad ones. For example, he has a flashlight that will shoot out itching powder.

 Given the age of the boys and the gadgets at their disposal, this is a story that fills the fantasy sections of boys of their age. There were many times when my friends and I would put things together and call them gadgets that did cool things. Of course, none of them worked beyond the limits of our imagination. Here they do.

 This story involves a former clown and fortune teller that used to work at a circus. The son of the deceased former owners is known as Skeets and the man that now owns the circus is looking for him. There are documents that will show that the current owner is a very bad sort, which is the missing message of the title.

 With a talking parrot, a small elephant, and evil men with foreign accents, this is a story to liven the imagination of the adolescent boy. Although the context is now dated, the action is still that of boys with vivid imaginations and a desire to solve crimes.

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