Friday, October 18, 2019

76. Stolen Documents by S. Beresford Lucas

I picked this up for a dollar at the Port de Tête bookstore during a sidewalk sale.  I read it now as a quick palate cleanser between the epicness of Barkskins and whatever I decide to read next (that will probably involve nasty grown-up behaviours).  This book also involved nasty grown-up behaviours, mainly Germans kidnapping plucky young sons of American millionaire inventors via U-Boat and stowing them in a secret underwater lairs in the Chartney Islands.  Fortunately (or unfortunately for the Germans), the plucky American was also accidently accompanied by two plucky British lads whom he had just rescued when they got caught in a squall in their rowboat.  The three youth thwart the Germans and have a rollicking adventure.

It's all very boys adventure, as advertised on the tin.  The bad guys beyond their accents and speaking in a foreign language are barely distinguishable from a common criminal organization, except that their plan is to attack London (with the ray that they hope to extort from the American's millionaire inventor father).  It was first published in 1938, before the war had officially started and I guess ideology is not really at play either at this time or for this audience.  They are bad guys who want to take over and thus should be stopped.  The American is portrayed in an extremely positive light, as skilled and gutsy, but also fun-loving and joking non-stop.  The three boys become great friends and their heroics are rewarded by getting to spend the rest of the summer together!  It's an interesting contrast to post-war resentment of the easy and rich Americans we find portrayed in some British genre fiction.

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