The Bootlegger's Secret by Michael Springer

Book DescriptionOne day while swimming in the river, they spot the hood ornament of a submerged 1931 Pierce-Arrow. Swede swims down, inside the car and finds an inlaid-gold cigarette case containing a music box, Turkish filter-tips and the photograph of a beautiful woman. Later, police recover the corpse of the car's owner, Eddie Knowland, local bootlegging kingpin and member of Al Capone's Chicago gang. Knowland and his car have been missing for eight years. 

The cigarette case has a secret compartment containing Knowland's business records. Treasury agents want the records to prosecute corrupt officials bribed by Knowland. Chicago gangsters want the records for blackmail.

When the cigarette case disappears, Mark and Swede are caught in a deadly squeeze between the T-men and the gangsters. They are not even safe at home or in their treehouse. Summer vacation becomes a nightmare of shadows and ghosts.

My Review:  This story is about eleven-year olds in the summer of 1941.  Mark and Swede are best friends who are swimming in the river experiencing a lazy and delicious summer day of do-nothing-ness when Swede takes a dive and finds a submerged car. AH!  What is in this wet car?  Could any young tween boy not be curious and take a look?  Nothing doing!  Swede finds a nice cigarette case.  Now the mystery begins as he and Mark take the case back to their tree house.  In checking the case they find some interesting papers.  Unknowingly, the two boys become caught between the good guys and the bad guys.
This story is great for incorporating the work ethic into a boy's summer.  The boys have chores to do and even when having fun they remember to go home and finish their jobs.  
This is a "somewhat Mayberry type" read . . . murder, mayhem and malicious misdeeds take precedents. However, I didn't find this to be a gory or "yucky" read.  A page turning mystery that begs to be read in a day!
A fast paced, action packed, in the lazy days of summer mystery, page turner.  A fantastic 5 star read for youth but I found this book to be a no ager---I think all ages would enjoy this read.

*I reviewed this book for Reader's*

1 comment:

  1. "Happened" on to this review which hits the nail on the head re: the tone of this book. I bought the book, read it, and have given it to my grandson (the one describing it as 'cool') who is circulating it among his buddies.