Dick Milton and his family have lived in many places, following their father to jobs around the world, but now their mother and her four children have settled in the Vermont small town home willed to her by her deceased father, while the children’s own father continues to work far away. They love the large house and the woods around it, but for some reason they can’t understand, the people of the town are unfriendly and don’t seem to want them there. It’s more than New England disdain of newcomers, there’s a mystery here that no one will explain to them. Dick makes one new friend in the woods, Jerry Stewart, but he can’t or won’t explain either. As the Miltons become more known, and have opportunities to help their neighbors, some of them thaw and become more friendly, and eventually the truth comes out. Jerry Stewart had been a good friend of their grandfather, and entrusted him with a large sum of money to be invested before Jerry went away to military service. Now that he’s back, there’s no trace of that money anywhere, and the town feels the house should be his to make up for it. Can Dick and his family discover the truth of the missing funds, or must they turn their new home over to Jerry Stewart?
This is my favorite of the Meigs books I’ve read, and I think the only one that has a contemporary 1950s setting rather than a historical one. The characters and plot are engaging, and the writing is excellent. I also like the illustrations by Geer. Recommended.