Rereading: MRS. WAPPINGER’S SECRET by Florence Hightower

Charlie Porter and his family have arrived at their summer vacation cottage on Osprey Island on the coast of Maine, but things are different for Charlie. Last summer he was into frogs, an interest he shared with an elderly neighbor, Mrs. Wappinger, and was happy enough doing the usual vacation things like swimming, boating, and playing with his island friend Peter. This year Charlie has a new passion: digging for buried treasure. He’s delighted to find out that Mrs. Wappinger shares that interest thanks to research she’s done on her ancestor Roger Osprey, the original settler on the island. Roger was a Tory spy working against the American Revolution, and during that time he was found out and had to flee suddenly for British territory. Mrs. Wappinger believes he left behind some items of great value, and that they might be found in the buried foundation of his home, which is in her front yard. Before long, Charlie and Mrs. Wappinger, witnessed by her feisty parrot Joe, are happily digging for treasure, but will they be able to find anything before the summer is over and Charlie has to go home? And what about the annual island races, his friend Peter, nosy store owner Mr. Buxton, and another annoying neighbor, Mr. Simpson, angry about Charlie’s digging in front of his cottage? Things come to a head when Mrs. Wappinger is injured and Charlie has to cross the sound in his brother’s boat to get help from the mainland on his own.

This 1956 novel is a well-written story with appealing characters and a fun plot that gets thrilling toward the end. The excellent illustrations by Beth and Joe Krush add much to the book. Recommended if you can find it.

Mrs Wappingers Secret by Florence Hightower

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