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ISBN 0307215334 - It's probably a bit of nostalgia that makes me give the book five stars: Trixie is a childhood favorite, and this title is the last written by series creator Julie Campbell. From here on, the books are written by various house authors under the name Kathryn Kenny.
Trixie and her friends have been invited to spend their Christmas holiday at a dude ranch in Arizona, owned by Di's uncle Monty. When they arrive, they're very nearly sent right back home because Uncle Monty is seriously under-staffed. Trixie, however, volunteers the entire group to fill in for the Orlandos, who mysteriously left their jobs without real explanation. Only Maria, an Orlando by marriage, and her son Petey, remain behind - and the things Petey says to Trixie has her convinced there's some sort of mystery to solve. Unhappy guests, a cowboy on the ranch and Rosita, a young girl working in housekeeping, all come with their own riddles and Trixie, of course, will solve them all. But can she do that and her job and still get in all the studying she's promised her mother?
The original copyright of 1958 is evident in the writing style, not to mention a few clues; the "No Smoking" sign on the plane and the comment "Got three teen-age kids whose friends practically lived at our house... until they got TV sets of their own" are giveaways. Campbell's style reminds me a great deal of The Boxcar Children series, set in a more innocent time. The greatest negative to the book is the feeling that you're being lectured on things like Arizona itself (16 pages of info on the state!), Indian customs and more. Still, I don't recall that bothering me when I was younger and I don't know that mystery fans will mind much now. A fun, bad-language-free mystery with the Bob-Whites. (Copyright, AnnaLovesBooks, 2008)
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