The Secret of the Cave: A Thrilling, Inspiring Mystery Story for Boys and Girls



Book: The Secret of the Cave: A Thrilling, Inspiring Mystery Story for Boys and Girls

Author: Arthur S Maxwell

Illustrator: John W. Atterbury

Publisher: Kessinger Publishing LLC, republished 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1169048119 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 1169048110 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-1163700051 Paperback

ISBN-10: 1163700053 Paperback

Related website: (publisher)

Language level: 1

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Recommended reading level: Ages 8-12 and up

Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers and/or authors provide free copies of their books in exchange for an honest review without requiring a positive opinion.  Any books donated to Home School Book Review for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

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Maxwell, Arthur S.  The Secret of the Cave: A Thrilling, Inspiring Mystery Story for Boys and Girls (published in 1951 by Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, CA; republished in 2010 by Kessinger Publishing LLC).  Longview Village is on the lonely northwest coast of Scotland.  One night old Peter Macdonald, a gray-bearded Highland shepherd is bring his sheep home and hears the most curious sounds proceeding from the mouth of nearby McCullam’s Cave.  Oscar and Bruce Maclaren, sons of the local gamekeeper whose parents are away in Glasgow for a while, join with the others to investigate the cave.  The boys are fifteen and thirteen.  Then strange things begin to happen.  A missing boat, assumed stolen, reappears with a neat patch on its side.  A horse which strayed away is found back in its stall even before a general search can be planned.  A poor widow wakes up to find a box of food by her bedside.

While all this is going on, a Mr. Wallace from Liverpool and his fourteen year old son Roy come to spend the summer with Wallace’s brother who is the local storekeeper.  Roy and the Maclaren boys quickly become friends.  One day Roy, who fancies himself a detective, is out swimming and sees a mysterious figure moving in front of the cave.  The odd events continue as a long-lost cork life jacket and brand new oar are both returned, Miss Mackay’s peat is dug and stacked for her, Old Corkey’s boat is completely tarred, and a clock is repaired.  The three boys set out to solve the mystery.  What is going on?  Are there smugglers or spies in the cave?  Who is doing all the good deeds—perhaps angels?  And is there any connection between the cave and the other happenings?

Author Arthur Stanley Maxwell (1896 – 1970) was a well-known writer, editor, and administrator of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He wrote a total of 112 books during his lifetime, and is known affectionately as “Uncle Arthur.” His most notable publications include the Bedtime Stories and The Bible Story volume sets. Volume 1 of The Bible Story, which tells the story of Genesis, has since the 1950s been found in many doctors’ offices in the United States and includes postcards on how a complete set can be ordered.  We recently saw the 2006 student film by the School of Visual Art and Design at Southern Adventist University based on The Secret of the Cave.  We enjoyed it, so I wanted to read the book.  The movie is good, but the novel is better.  I especially like the way it ends with a good message.

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