Throwback Book Review: Boxcar Children #36 and 38

Welcome to my weekly throwback book review! Each week I’ll be rereading and reviewing one or two books from my childhood. I was a huge reader as a child and these books shaped my life. I couldn’t possibly get rid of them, so I still have a large collection that I am sharing with all of you in the form of reviews.

#36 The Castle Mystery: I did not remember this one at all until I started reading, and even then I couldn’t remember what the mystery was or ‘whodunnit’. Grandfather Alden knows people who are renovating an old castle from a home into a museum when the last owner died, so he volunteers the kids to help with the work. (Can you imagine these kids’ resumes? Their volunteer work alone would fill pages.) They arrive and the only one there who is happy to see them is the woman in charge. The old caretaker is unhappy the house will be turned into a museum, the assistant renovator is acting strange, and the antiques expert (named Tom Brady, lol) doesn’t seem to want a bunch of kids handling priceless artifacts.

Strange things start happening like the kids seeing a light in the opposite tower from their room that is supposedly closed off, people are always where they shouldn’t be, and the girls even get locked into the cave underneath the castle while on a scavenger hunt. Also, everyone is on the hunt for a rare Stradivarius violin that the previous owner had.

A hidden room revealed by a spinning wall unlocks the key to the mystery when they find out Tom Brady found the violin and was planning on selling it, and he was responsible for most of the problems. The old caretaker was just a grumpy old man who had to warm up to the kids, and the renovator’s assistant actually lived in the castle as a child and was poking around for her old things.

What We Missed: #37 The Mystery of the Lost Village. The kids stay on an Indian reservation and do some archaeology.

#38 The Mystery of the Purple Pool: The kids are off to New York City with their grandfather! He has business meetings to go to, so the kids are free to explore the city on their own. Except, as it always happens, a mystery shows up at the same time they do. First, their hotel reservation has been mysteriously cancelled and there are no bellhops to be found. Then they go for a swim and find the pool has been dyed purple. Other shenanigans happen like the salt and the sugar being switched in the cafe, and things disappearing from the guests’ rooms like towels and room phones.

They have a few suspects, as usual. There’s a suspicious maid who the kids overhear plotting something, and a woman who always seems to be around when there’s trouble, writing in a notebook. Plus, there’s a strange man who goes around in a trench coat and hat.

The Aldens do take some time to sightsee in New York though. They even bring along a young boy they met in the hotel. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’d send my son out into New York City with a group of other kids I barely know. They return to the hotel and their elevator gets stuck, which they come to find out was just temporarily switched off.

In the end, it was the assistant manager, who wanted to take over and thought he could push the manager out if enough things went wrong. The maid just wanted her brother hired back, he was fired by the assistant manager because he would figure out what was going wrong. The suspicious woman was writing a travel article about the hotel, and the man in a trench coat was a famous actor just wanting to hide from his fans.



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