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.
What We Missed: The Soccer Mystery, The Growling Bear Mystery, The Mystery of the Lake Monster, and The Mystery at Peacock Hall Apparently the Aldens join a soccer team, visit Yellowstone, stay in a mountain lodge, and help yet another cousin with a mystery.
#64 The Black Pearl Mystery: In the bizarre perpetual summer that is their lives, the Alden kids are off on another vacation, this time to Hawaii. No lounging on beaches for them however, as they have another cousin in need of their help. Cousin Mary owns a pineapple plantation that is in dire need of business help. So the Aldens go with their grandfather in order to see how they can help, along with their other cousin Soo Lee, without her adoptive parents. Grandfather immediately leaves for another island… to take business meetings? It’s not quite clear. But he leaves the kids alone in Hawaii with his cousin where they are put to work picking pineapples.
No Boxcar Children book is complete without a cast of sneaky, sketchy characters. They first meet Mary’s manager, Joseph, who is friendly at first but becomes increasingly standoffish over the course of the book. There’s also the lady who runs another large plantation and a pineapple cannery, who wants to put Mary out of business. Lastly, there’s a strange couple who stay on the plantation with them, and always seem to be around when you don’t expect them. They claim to be looking at farms to purchase in the area, but do a poor job of actually pretending to do it.
The children learn of a story about a legendary black pearl that makes everyone clam up when they ask about it. Of course, this makes them want to know even more. They finally learn the story when they overhear Joseph telling the story to his grandchildren. Apparently it was a very valuable black pearl that was found, but brought bad luck to anyone who possessed it. It was then placed back into the ocean for five hundred moons, when it would then lose all of its bad luck. Apparently this legend happened approximately five hundred moons ago.
The Aldens go snorkeling just for fun, but they keep being warned away from the water, with their equipment getting stolen and false reports of shark warnings. It seems someone wants to keep them from looking for the pearl. They see something silvery in a cave underwater but are unable to reach it.
In the end, Joseph shows them a box containing a large black pearl. He had found it while diving where the children had been snorkeling and saw their treasure. The cannery woman claims the pearl as hers since it was found close to her property; she’d hired divers to find the pearl and tell everyone else that there were sharks. The mysterious couple had also been diving for the pearl, and they were the ones to steal the children’s snorkels.
Apparently Joseph had been the one in the legend to find the pearl in the first place, and he had given it to Mary’s husband but the bad luck had continued so it was placed back into the ocean. Mary and Joseph decided together to use the proceeds from the black pearl to help out the plantation.
I don’t have much to say about this one. It was a nice safe mystery where the kids didn’t actually do much sleuthing for once. All they wanted to do was enjoy Hawaii and help out with the plantation, and they ended up helping find the pearl anyway. It was one of the newer ones/last ones I bought, and I didn’t remember much about it at all. Overall, pretty forgettable.