The Invisible Chimes: A Judy Bolton Mystery #3


Book: The Invisible Chimes: A Judy Bolton Mystery #3

Author: Margaret Sutton

Illustrator: Pelagie Doane 

Publisher: Applewood Books, republished 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0884117162 Hardcover

ISBN-10: 0884117162 Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-1429090230 Paperback

ISBN-10: 1429090235 Paperback


Language level:  2

(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

Rating: ***** 5 stars

(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)

Category: Mystery

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Many publishers, literary agents, 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.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

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     Sutton,Margaret.  The Invisible Chimes: A Judy Bolton Mystery #3 (Published in 1932 by Grosset and Dunlap Publishers, New York City, NY).  Teenager Judy Bolton, auburn-haired girl detective, lives in Farringdon with her parents, Dr. and Mrs. Bolton; her brother, news reporter Horace Bolton; and her loyal black cat, Blackberry. She is torn between two suitors, the wealthy Arthur Farringdon-Pett, and the upstanding lawyer Peter Dobbs.  Her rival for Arthur’s affections is her friend Lorraine Lee, and she is also friends with Arthur’s sister, Lois Farringdon-Pett.  One of her high-school archenemies is snobbish Kay Vincent.  In The Invisible Chimes, Judy must solve two related mysteries about an antique store theft and a girl with amnesia whom she names Honey.  Who is this strange girl?  Does she have any connection with the antique store theft?  And what are those mysterious chimes that Judy keeps hearing?

     Author Margaret Sutton (1903-2001) was born Rachel Irene Beebe in Odin, PA, in 1903.  Her first Judy Bolton Mystery was published in 1932 under the pen name Margaret Sutton. Ms. Sutton wove many real events and places into the Judy Bolton stories through the 35-year history of the series.  The original Judy Bolton series of 38 volumes lasted until 1967, making it the longest lasting juvenile series written by a single author. The books are noted not only for their engaging plots and thrilling stories, but also for their realism and social commentary. To many young girls Judy was an ideal role model—smart, capable, courageous, nurturing, and always unwavering in her core beliefs.  The Talking Snowman is a Judy Bolton mystery co-authored by Margaret Sutton and Linda Joy Singleton and published independently in 1997. Another title, The Whispering Belltower, was written by Kate Emburg with the encouragement of Margaret Sutton.  In 2001, at the age of 98, Margaret Sutton died in Lock Haven, PA, not far from her native Potter County. Based on conversations with the author and her family plus extensive research, co-authors Kate Duvall and Beverly Hatfield wrote the last book in the series, The Strange Likeness, which was published in 2012, based on Margaret Sutton’s suggested title and plans for the future of the series. It was followed in 2018 by The Mystery on Judy Lane, the 40th book in the series, also written by Hatfield.

     In addition to the Judy Bolton Mysteries, the author published historical novels, other juvenile stories, and children’s books.  My wife said that she likes Judy Bolton better than Nancy Drew because while Nancy seems almost “ipsy-pipsy perfect,” Judy is more realistic as a typical teenager who loses her temper, battles cliques, and sometimes gets things wrong.  The Invisible Chimes, the third title in the Judy Bolton Mysteries, is a particularly good story in that, while it can be thoroughly enjoyed as a “stand alone” adventure, it is linked to elements in the previous title in the series, The Haunted Attic, and is actually an intriguing and clever follow-up to book #2, especially if one is reading the books in order.  While working on her new mystery, Judy becomes aware that she overlooked an important clue that she had uncovered during the course of her last investigation that might have a direct bearing on her current case.  I enjoyed reading The Invisible Chimes.

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