Monday, October 27, 2008

My First Mystery

by Julia Buckley
I was reminiscing today about my earliest books--the first ones I read alone. I think this one may have been my first mystery; I received it in the mail through a children's book club, back when snail mail was the only kind, and little children looked longingly in the box every day. Imagine my joy when there was a package there for me, every four weeks or so, with hardback books inside.

Big Max was a wonderful book involving a detective who traveled by umbrella; he was hired to solve a case for the King of Pooka Pooka, who had lost his beloved elephant. The story, looking back, seems a mixture of mystery, humor, and surrealism.

I can still remember the joy of discovering that book, but also the thrill of crime solving. I'm not sure if I figured out the ending or not, but I know the resolution was satisfying, even to my seven-year-old self. Eventually I moved on to such sophisticated fare as Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames, then the Boxcar Children and Trixie Belden, and after that I read single-title suspense novels by authors like Mary Stewart, Phyllis A. Whitney, Velda Johnston and Victoria Holt.

Big Max is still in print and available to a whole new generation of children (and perhaps future mystery lovers). I'm grateful to Kin Platt for my first mystery reading experience.

Which book introduced you to the world of mystery?

6 comments:

Bill Cameron said...

Mine is The Mystery of the Witches Bridge, which I talk about here:
http://billcameronmysteries.blogspot.com/2008/07/forgotten-friday-mystery-of-witches.html

:)

Julia Buckley said...

Sounds great, Bill! I also forgot to mention Joan Aiken's THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE. The title alone is a classic.

Now I'll go read your post.

Paul Lamb said...

Undoubtedly a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories I read as a lad. I think I still have the book.

Julia Buckley said...

That's a great one, Paul! I've heard several men say that Sherlock Holmes was their favorite boyhood literature. And I know that some of those early volumes were beautiful, too. We had one in brown leather that I loved to look at; it also had beautiful full color illustrations.

Paul Lamb said...

Julia, my copy was an ex-library copy that had been rebound. I haven't opened it in decades. I should go upstairs tonight and look at it. Could be it was a digest version or something.

Julia Buckley said...

There's nothing like re-discovering an old book. It's the closest we get to time travel. :)