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Book Discussion: The Happy Valley Mystery (Read 9132 times)
Jessica22
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Re: Book Discussion: The Happy Valley Mystery
Reply #25 - Jan 25th, 2010, 12:18am
 
This book is ok but it is definately not one of my favourites. I disliked the Gormans (mr gorman acted a bit mean throughout the book) but i liked the trixie/jim bits in the book. I also enjoyed the bit when trixie, honey and jim were in the flood. It was so life-like.
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macjest
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Re: Book Discussion: The Happy Valley Mystery
Reply #26 - Jan 26th, 2010, 12:03pm
 
I'm of a mixed mind on this book. It has some of my very favorite moments, like when Jim gives Trixie the bracelet. It also has some moments when it makes me irritated. The Gormans irritated me the most the first time I read it. However, I think the author tried to inject a little realism into the story. After all, if a 13 year old girl tried to tell me she was a detective here at school, I'd probably laugh too. So I don't think they're as mean as we make them out to be.
 
I'd rate this as middle of the road for a Trixie book.
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NicoleteNephew
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Re: Book Discussion: The Happy Valley Mystery
Reply #27 - Jan 26th, 2010, 1:17pm
 
Greetings all, been a long time since I've visited. I'd even forgotten some of my login info!
 
I've really enjoyed the posts about Happy Valley. For the newer members, the author was my great-aunt.
 
As an author (and picky reader) myself, I agree that there are any number of "What?" head-scratchers in Nicolete's storyline. I can only imagine that back in the day, the time available for a working author to scrutinize every detail of every previous title in the series was probably severely limited. But she'd already authored two Trixies before writing HV, so I can't let her off the hook on details!
 
On the other hand, her editor should have caught more of the inconsistencies as well... people are humans too, I guess   Wink
 
As others have commented, I've always really liked the "livestock & pets" side of the story also. Interesting that so many years later, our own family "played farmers" for four years here in Western North Carolina when our daughter was just growing up, and I helped birth over fifty lambs from my parents' flock of Columbias before we moved into the local town so our daughter could have a real neighborhood to grow up in.
 
Thanks for listening,  
 
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agilicairn
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Re: Book Discussion: The Happy Valley Mystery
Reply #28 - Jan 28th, 2010, 10:13pm
 
^ How neat to have a relative of a Trixie author on the boards!
 
I never found the Gormans to be too overly harsh, either, I mean, they were pretty angry in the heat of the moment over the sheep getting out, true.  BUT letting a whole flock of sheep out of their field at night is a pretty big mistake, actually.  Some of the sheep could have gotten hurt or lost or come to grief, especially at night.  So I think the Gormans were justifiably upset, even if they possibly might have handled it a little differently.
 
I've mentioned when this book has been discussed before, though, that for me this trip is pretty much a busman's holiday for the Belden kids, and even kind of for the rest of the gang -- I live on a farm and I'm not sure that going on a vacation to a different farm would be that appealing, unless I were going to learn about a new crop or specific husbandry techniques or something.  But it was nice the trip was to Belden relatives instead of Honey's or Di's families being the impetus for the trip.
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suza
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Re: Book Discussion: The Happy Valley Mystery
Reply #29 - Apr 19th, 2013, 10:30pm
 
I'm about a third of the way into Happy Valley.  I took a little side trip to look up some of the places mentioned in the book.  I love the Internet for this and I do this a lot when reading books that mention real-life places (both fiction and non-fiction).  It helps to visualize the setting in the book.
 
So, I looked up Walnut Woods (now a state park) and Waterworks Park.  Apparently Des Moines has spread out a lot since the books were written because these parks are now urban parks located in the city, making Happy Valley Ranch now in the city of Des Moines  Shocked  According to Google Maps, the two parks are 5.8 miles apart.
 
Waterworks Park is actually managed by the Des Moines Water Works.  On the DMWW website, a history of the Des Moines Water Works contained some interesting facts about major floods of the Raccoon River.
 
http://www.dmww.com/about-us/history/  
 
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Re: Book Discussion: The Happy Valley Mystery
Reply #30 - Apr 21st, 2013, 8:04pm
 
I just finished Happy Valley .  Ironically, there is currently major flooding occuring in the Midwest, including Iowa.  I don't know if the Raccoon River is over it's banks  Smiley
 
This book was not one of my favorites, but it was ok.  The stolen sheep and the flood  made for an exciting atmosphere.  I agree with the comments about the sheep thieves and the lack of a lot of clues to the mystery.  It seemed like information just came out of nowhere.  
 
I also feel that too much of the story centered on the activities the BWG's were participating in, rather than the mystery at hand.
 
Other gripes:
 
With Brian and Jim being the cautious ones, I thought the chase scene was a bit out of character - Brian racing around in someone else's car.
 
I found it not plausable that the kids would leave the dance at midnight and go tearing around the area looking for the sheep rustlers.  It must have been nearly, or even well past, 1 am when they returned to the ranch.  I would think they would have had a curfew and been expected to be home at a reasonable time after the dance ended.  When I was in HS, in the 60's, school dances didn't last till midnight, except for maybe formal proms, etc.
 
The episode with the boys and Trixie playing basketball was strange.  How are we to believe that Brian, Jim and Mart were star players of the Sleepyside basketball team?  They were unable to participate in activities with other students because they lived in the country.  And none of the previouse books say anything about basketball games, practices, etc.  There isn't even mention of a basketball hoop at Crabapple Farm  Huh  And Spring is not the normal time for basketball games, but then, I suppose it was a fund raiser, so that might explain this.  And Trixie hitting those shots she did is totally unbelievable.  Why this was written into the story, I don't understand.  
 
I think Di's character was overplayed.  I did not like her at all .  And there was a real division between the boys and the girls.  The girls were not expected to participate in "guy" activities, but rather to stay at the house and do "domestic" things like cooking and household chores.  If it weren't for Trixie's exuberance, the girls would not have done some of the things they did.  
 
There were too many unecessary characters.  I'm not sure why Ned, Bob and Barbara were introduced, unless they are going to play a role in another book (as suggested by the BWGs when they invite them to Sleepyside)
 
One important observation I have made in Happy Valley and, in other books as well, is that boy/girl pairs  (Di/Mart, Honey/Brian, Trixie/Jim) never appear alone together and sleeping arrangements were very specifically separated.  This could have been by choice of the KKs or the editors' suggestion, to prevent the presumption, by readers, of any "hanky-panky" that could jeopardize the appropriateness of the books for young readers.
 
Happy Valley is not real high on my "like list", and definately on my "loved it list".  As I read it, I didn't remember much from when I read it as a kid, so I must not have been very impressed then, either.  Of course, then, all that mattered was that there was another Trixie Book  Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes
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Re: Book Discussion: The Happy Valley Mystery
Reply #31 - Apr 21st, 2013, 8:45pm
 
I did like this book, but parts were very contrived. As I said before, the mystery was lame, Trixie just started suspecting everyone in turn...When they saw the stranded truck, how did they have any idea it was the thieves and not an owner transporting his own sheep? I loved that they were saved, but I doubt they would have stood a chance in real life. I thought Mr. Gorman was pretty mean, but I liked Ben. Andy Belden must have been quite well off to maintain the sheep ranch and the lodge in Missouri, both with full time help......
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TNTrue
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Re: Book Discussion: The Happy Valley Mystery
Reply #32 - Apr 17th, 2017, 7:07pm
 
Everyone's already discussed my major gripes, and most of the minor ones, as well!  I thought this book suffered from "Nancy Drew syndrome" -- not enough deep characterization; the Bob-Whites are suddenly sports stars (when we know they weren't and didn't have time to be on the teams), and experts at everything, and so on.  It also put the characters in serious danger, which was something I liked about the older Nancy Drews (the rewrites were considerably tamer), but the mystery was extremely weak -- Nancy Drew mysteries were often unbelievable, but at least she was always following and analyzing clues.  
 
I didn't mind the Gormans getting so mad about the kids letting the sheep out, because my grandparents would have done the same, and they also would have laughed at me even if I had been a successful detective, so I found them easier to take than some.  They were very much of the "children are to be seen and not heard" generation, and they would have seen Trixie as "getting too big for her britches" -- but they were also very kind people who loved kids.  The Gormans never reminded me of them, but I think laughing at kids that way was viewed differently back then.  They didn't want kids to "develop good self-esteem" -- they wanted their kids to "toughen up," and laughing at kids when they thought the kids were being ridiculous was part of that.
 
My dad's still a lot that way -- he made my eldest daughter cry literally every time we visited (which was a couple of times a year) until she was nearly nine.  She'd burst into tears and he'd go into a complete panic, "I was just teasing, I didn't mean anything," while I soothed my daughter and gave him the death glare.  I'd always hated his teasing, but that was just something you had to put up with as a kid, so while I didn't allow it at home with my husband and kids (hubby doesn't tease that way anyhow), I would sort of tune it out with my dad, or at least tune it out too long for my sensitive little one!  He always felt bad about it, and it never happened more than once a visit (which could be as long as a week), but it was a habit he found really hard to break.   Roll Eyes  
 
I remembered some of my favorite bits of this book, but none of said bits were related to the mystery.  Trixie has always been prone to wild guesses, but I thought that aspect was out of hand here.  Usually Honey or one of the boys brings her back in touch with reality, I think, and they didn't here very much.  OTOH, it’s lovely to see Mart working with Trixie (when he sees the lantern signals and whistles, and then when he figures out where she'd gone).  My view of Mart is that he is skeptical of Trixie’s specific theories, and doesn’t like her making mysteries when there aren’t any, but once he decides there’s someone doing harm, he wants the mystery solved almost as much as Trixie does.  In this case, there’s clearly harm being done, and, while Mart will still tease Trixie if he thinks she doesn’t have any serious evidence, I would be disappointed if he didn’t join in on the mystery solving.
 
Wouldn’t it be funny if, after they grow up, Trixie and Mart were the ones to form a detective agency?  Or if Mart partners with Trixie and Honey?  I think once they’re grown, Trixie will be less sensitive to his teasing, and Mart less likely to deliberately antagonize her anyhow, making a partnership more likely.  I also believe their skills in detecting would compliment each other very well.
 
Plus I love successful sibling partnerships, like the Wright brothers, or Walt and Roy Disney, and they often had a non-family partner, so a Trixie and Mart with Honey detective agency would fit right in there!
 
I wanted to know what the deal was with the sheep that couldn't get up (p. 29 in my ugly), and ran across this humorous article on the subject, thought I'd share.  Fair warning -- it's a definite reminder than the Trixie Belden version of sheepfarming is considerable romanticized! :
 
https://jaredgulian.com/2010/10/22/getting-intimate-with-a-cast-sheep/
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macjest
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Re: Book Discussion: The Happy Valley Mystery
Reply #33 - Apr 17th, 2017, 7:42pm
 
Oh, that story is priceless!
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Julie G.-Keeper of "I'm sure you'll have a picture to put in the space were the secret message was." & "No one had to guess whose picture she would choose." (#14)
Trixie notes http://macjestsworld.com/trixienotes/trixienotes.htm
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