Mr. Stratton straightened. His smile faded. “Now, who is to be spokesman?”
“I am,” said Trixie. Jim was co-president of the Bob-Whites, but Trixie usually did the talking.
“Trixie, the School Board doesn’t want secret societies to exist in Sleepyside schools, when clubs – really gangs – can be the source of so much trouble. The board feels…that your club will have to disband.”
“We couldn’t!” Trixie almost shouted…
Most people can think of a book that impacted them. In my case, Trixie Belden forever changed my fiction reading, and especially #7, The Mysterious Code. The section above is from the back cover. The series, first from the 60’s and 70’s, featured spunky Trixie, her brothers, their wealthy friends, lots of horseback riding and the crimes they solved in their Sleepyside town. Trixie had a crush on Jim, and in #7, he gets her a corsage for a Valentine’s Day event. Here began my love of a few things including romantic suspense and codes.
The Trixie books seemed more real than Nancy Drew, as Trix made lots of mistakes and got in trouble a lot. She was terrible at household chores. I won’t say why that seemed more real. No one can say these books are multicultural or politically correct, especially the Asian brothers portrayed in #7, but it was a beloved series for me and many other. Author Denise Swanson has a Trixie Frayne (what her name would have been had she married Jim) in her series as a tribute. I even saved up the back page ads of those books when I was young for a t-shirt. I see those now on Ebay for big bucks.
My favorite Sherlock Holmes is The Adventure of the Dancing Men. I still have an old copy of the children’s book Alvin’s Secret Code by Hicks. Puzzles and codes always fascinate me, and I busily made strips of paper to wrap around sticks with my friends when I was younger (to read vertically). I set some papers on fire trying to brown lemon juice messages on them.
While my handwriting now seems like a code to lots of folks, I miss the note passing and other forms of coding I did when I was younger. Texting is not the same! I was delighted that the cover of Missing is a jigsaw puzzle, and I promptly had a puzzle made from the cover photo when it came. Puzzles are the closest I get to my secret message days.
What got you into mysteries?
Amy Alessio is a YA librarian and author. Her most recent short story is featured in Echelon Press's new mystery anthology, Missing. Amy has a personal blog, Vintage Cookbooks. She also blogs for the Love is Murder conference and for Echelon Press’s Teen Scene.