HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Double Cousins and the Mystery of Custer’s Gold
Author: Miriam Jones Bradley
Cover Designer: Hannah Nichols
Publisher: Ambassador-Emerald International, 2015
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 9-12
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Bradley, Miriam Jones. The Double Cousins and the Mystery of Custer’s Gold (published in 2015 by Ambassador International, 427 Wade Hampton Blvd., Greenville, SC 29609). The ten-year-old Double Cousins, Carly Johnson and Max Dawson, along with their moms and dads, Carly’s younger sister Molly, Max’s older sister Dorie and younger brother Chad, another ten-year-old cousin Brandon Johnson with his parents and two older brothers, their four grandparents, and their Aunt Susie, are all spending the holidays at the Old Sawmill Guest Ranch in Nemo, SD, helping the owner, Mr. Dilbert, do some work. The plan is to have a quiet Christmas with extended family and no mystery or adventure. However, the kids find an old Swedish Bible hidden away under a loose floorboard and a couple of diaries by another set of ten-year-old double cousins.
The Swedish immigrant families of Sophia Thorson and John Peter Swanson lived at Nemo when it was a real sawmill town back in 1918, and their entries make reference to a mysterious gold coin which they had found in a nearby cave. There are persistent rumors that George A. Custer hid his payroll somewhere in the area on his way to the Little Bighorn. Joined by another distant relative, Slim Jay, and the Neely family who are trapped at Nemo by a sudden blizzard, the Double Cousins race against the snow and the clock to solve their most recent mystery. Why were the Bible and journals left as they were? What happened to Sophia and John Peter and their families? And will the mention of the gold coin help to answer the historic Black Hills puzzle about where Custer hid his last payroll?
Besides the fact that they are just good, wholesome mystery stories, there are many things to like about the Double Cousins Mysteries, not the least of which is the portrayal of a warm, wonderful extended family relationship in which the parents and grandparents truly love the children, and the kids respect their elders. Also, faith in God and godly living are important to this family. They all attend church services, and Mr. Johnson is in fact a minister. The Mystery of Custer’s Gold has the added benefit of geographical information about the Black Hills of South Dakota and historical material about Custer and the Battle of Little Bighorn as well as Swedish immigration. Other titles in the series include The Mystery of the Missing Watch (2009), The Mystery of the Torn Map (2011), and The Mystery of the Rushmore Treasure (2014).