by Murray Crawford
Mystery On The Whanganui follows Mary Paul, a spirited young girl, keen for adventures and fascinated by the Whanganui River on which her grandfather, Ganga, runs a small fleet of boats.
After meeting Tom, the nephew of Alexander Hatrick, a local businessman and Ganga’s rival, Mary feels upset by his rudeness and sets out to teach him a lesson. Although this fails, she subsequently gets invited by him on a trip down the Whanganui River on one of Hatrick’s steamers. Mary accepts this opportunity and brings her brother Wayne, home from the army, along for the ride.
While on the boat, the three notice a deckhand acting suspiciously, carrying a letter around with him that he seems a little too obsessive about. Mary decides to take things into her own hands and investigate. When she takes the letter back to the boys, they discover it describes lost treasure hidden during the Maori Land Wars. Wary of the deckhand, the trio, now joined by Mary’s younger sister Billie, embark on a mission, trying to find the treasure before he does, so it can be returned to its rightful owner.
Although Murray Crawford’s style could often be described over-writing, I found this created a more descriptive story, suitable for the target audience. It reminded me of a Trixie Belden novel, entertaining but quite light, a book that you will find easy to read. Overall, after I got into the story, I found it interesting to read, full of thrills and mystery.
Mystery on the Whanganui will keep you flipping through the pages.