Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday's Forgotten Books: The Hidden Stone Mystery by Fran Striker

The Hidden Stone Mystery (1950) is fifth out of eight Tom Quest adventures. College-aged Tom is the son of Hamilton Quest, a famous scientist and explorer. In STONE MYSTERY, a stone marking the boundary of the land 'given' to the Mandan Native Americans by the government had become buried over time. With the boundary line blurred, a syndicate begins mining the land adjoining the Mandan village, prospecting for uranium. When the stone is re-discovered, Hamilton is brought in to verify its authenticity. He does, making the syndicate very unhappy. To keep their lucrative property, the syndicate hires other scientists to dispute his findings. Hamilton is labeled a fraud and Tom sets out with his friends, newspaperman Whiz Walton and a gigantic Texan named Gulliver, to prove his father’s innocence.

I had never heard of Tom Quest but was well aware of author, Fran Striker, best known for creating The Lone Ranger and The Green Hornet. For someone who enjoys kids books (though middle-age is tapping on his shoulder), I can see why the Quest adventures didn’t do as well as, say, The Hardy Boys. In STONE there are too many grown-ups getting in the way, or, I should say helping out. Whiz provides most of the essential information and the appropriately-named Gulliver the muscle. This arrangement may be more realistic but us kids like to think our teenage heroes can go it alone. Based on this book alone, I liked The Hidden Stone Mystery and would recommend it to those, like me, who never seemed to let go of Frank and Joe Hardy, Nancy Drew, etc.

Check out Patti Abbott's blog, our hostess for Friday's Forgotten Books.

12 comments:

Randy Johnson said...

Not familiar with this one. Sounds interesting.
You say middle age is tapping your shoulder. With me, it's grabbed me around the throat and throttled me.
I still like this sort of stuff though.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I'm not sure of the names; they seem too clever. But the plot sounds good.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Hi David,

Thanks for this. I have never heard of Tom Quest. My two oldest grandchildren turn seven this year and I have seen huge growth in their reading, so I am beginning to compile a list of books and series for their future reading so that I will always be one step ahead. My grandson is currently reading the Ben 10 books. (I never heard of those either but, hey.) and if his taste stays in that adventure grove, Tom Quest would be a natural for him down the road.

It is amazing how much I have learned through the Forgotten Books posts.

Terrie

Scott Parker said...

Ironic timing your selection: I just finished the new Dynamite Comic reboot of the Lone Ranger. Blog report to follow but it's a loving homage to all that Striker created. Never hear of Tom Quest. Wonder if Johnny Quest was inspired by Tom? It's funny: you wrote about a Quest, I wrote about a Quist. What is it with Q names?

David Cranmer said...

Randy, I'm Jack Benny's magic thirty-nine and I have no intention of moving beyond it.

JR, Interestingly my wife and I just watched Thunderheart, starring Val Kilmer, and it has a similar storyline concerning the mining of uranium on Native American land.

Terrie, Your grandson would definitely enjoy the Quest books. Of course, they are dated but if he's like me, it'll hardly matter.

Scott, Yes and my next three posts will be on Quatermain, Quigley and Quasimodo.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've heard of Johnny Quest. Any relation?

Randy Johnson said...

It'll never work, David. I used to do the same thing. Now, though, this is the way the family says it: my birthday in October will be the twenty-first anniversary of my thirty-ninth.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Me, too. 39.

Dave King said...

I had never heard of stone, but I've made a note...

Sarah Hina said...

I like your insight into kids wanting kids to go it alone. I remember feeling the same. It was kind of a power boost, and escapism at its best.

I loved Nancy Drew. Read all 130, or however many there were (more, now). It didn't matter that they pretty much followed the same formula every time. I was hooked.

David Cranmer said...

Charles, Third cousins I believe.

Randy, That’s a clever way to give your age. I’m going to give that a try.

Patty, :)

Dave, Unless you are into young adult novels, I would probably pass on this story. However, an interesting side note, my wife just began photographing Mandan stone artifacts at the museum where she works.

Sarah, I dipped over into reading Nancy Drew after watching Pamela Sue Martin on the old tv series, but pretty much stuck with the Hardy Boys. But, if I was ever in a jam, I wouldn’t mind having Nancy backing me up.

Jack said...

Sounds like a book I should track down.

http://jacksopenrange.blogspot.com