Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Mystery of the Flying Skeleton by Mel Lyle

The Power Boys were a Hardy Boys style knock-off series from Whitman Books commencing in 1964. The series only lasted six books. The author, Mel Lyle, is undoubtedly a pseudonym. The actual author’s name is unknown. I was a big fan of the Hardy Boys and the 1960s was really their golden age with old books rewritten and re-packaged and new titles appearing constantly. The Power Boys were great but short-lived. I suppose if I had to pick a favorite of the series it would be The Mystery of the Flying Skeleton because I read it first. Brothers Jack and Chip Power and their Dalmatian Blaze get involved in a nasty piece of business in route to Key West with their father, Thomas Power. At the airport a plane explodes; the nefarious deed had been intended to kill some international delegates. As the plot unfolds they make some new friends as a hurricane begins wending its way toward the keys. Snooping out clues in a happy-go-lucky style is what Chip and Jack do best, all with the loyal pup Blaze fast on their heels. This is popcorn juvenile action fun, 60s style, from that bygone age when “Young Adult” books were mass-produced like B-movies and equally as fun for its tender audience. Reading them as a kid, I never felt that Chip and Jack were ever in any danger, but I enjoyed the breezy attitude and fabricated tension. The colorful covers were all presumably by Raymond Burns who also provided interior line drawings for each book. The Drawings were printed in a different color for each title. In The Mystery of the Flying Skeleton the drawings are printed in green. The other titles included The Mystery of the Million Dollar Penny, The Mystery of the Haunted Skyscraper, The Mystery of the Burning Ocean, The Mystery of the Vanishing Lady, and The Mystery of the Double Kidnapping. Copies range from $5.00 to 10.00 dependent on condition.

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