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.
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