Rereading: FISH HOOK ISLAND MYSTERY by Wendell Farmer

The actual author of this book is Lavinia R. Davis, who wrote over 40 books, most under her own name, this is one of three using the Farmer pseudonym. Davis wrote excellent books about children and animals like “Hobby Horse Hill” as well as some teenage romance titles, adult mysteries, picture books for younger readers, and short story collections. The Farmer books all came out during World War Two, have wartime elements, and fewer animals.

Three children come together with a common interest in the wild wetlands at the northern end of their peninsula on the New Jersey shore: Mose is the youngest, and loves to fish, Dorry and her mother live in a former lighthouse nearest to the small group of marshy islands called the Fish Hooks, and Chat likes to be the leader of the group as much as he loves to talk, but he does have good ideas about their secret club. They explore what seems an abandoned shack, but inside it’s been repaired and used for storing something. Chat suspects it’s being used by smugglers. After a passing hurricane nearly drowns Mose and Chat, the three find an abandoned sailboat called Wood Pigeon, and do what they can to rescue it. Two men from town are also after the boat, even though the kids believe they don’t own it, and before long there’s a dangerous competition going on to see who can possess the boat. Dorry is particularly interested in a puppy they found onboard with a collar and name tag, Scallop, who follows them everywhere. When another storm approaches, Chat and his crew make a dangerous plan to sail Wood Pigeon to his uncle’s boatyard where it will be out of danger, but can they escape the much faster motorboat of their opponents?

This book is purportedly set on the southern New Jersey coast, though the settings and map are unlike any real places here in the area where I live. Despite that, I enjoyed rereading it, there’s lots of action, and each of the three kids has moments to shine. Recommended if you can find it.

Fish Hook Island Mystery by Wendell Farmer

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