Award-winning Eric Walters offers a fast-paced, action-packed mystery, The Hydrofoil Mystery. This novel is sure to be just as popular with his pre-teen and younger teen fans as his earlier works, Stand Your Ground and Stars (which won the Silver Birch Award), and his first historical novel, Trapped in Ice (shortlisted for a Ruth Schwartz Award).
Set in 1917 in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, the novel follows fifteen-year-old Billy McCracken as he falls headfirst into a world of invention, intrigue, and action. Billy, of course, would rather be hanging around Halifax with his friends, getting into trouble around the poker table or throwing dice, but his mother doesn't want him to throw his life away and has found the young hooligan a summer job at Beinn Bhreagh, the summer home of Alexander Graham Bell.
Billy resents having to work around the estate, chopping wood, shovelling sheep manure, and helping out at evening parties at the main house. He is determined not to fit in at Beinn Bhreaghthat is, until he becomes intrigued by one of the projects on which Bell and his team are working. Bell is developing a hydrofoil, the HD-4, for the Royal Navy to attack German U-boats and submarines. Because the project is dangerous and top-secret, he doesn't want Billy involved. But when someone tries to sabotage the HD-4 and Billy is on hand to help Bell save it, things begin to change.
Walters inventively mixes fact and fiction as fictional Billy becomes involved in Bell's actual work on the hydrofoil (the HD-4 set a world speed record in 1919) and gets caught up in a gripping, suspenseful spy story. There are problems with Walters' vocabulary, and the use of "yeah" and "okay" throughout seems historically inaccurate. An appendix on just what is fact and fiction and listing sources for further reading would have made The Hydrofoil Mystery an even better read, for kids and adults alike. Nevertheless, it's exciting to have an opportunity to relive a great moment in Canadian history and for younger readers to be introduced in a compelling fictional format to one of our truly great Canadian heroes. Jeffrey Canton
(Books in Canada) -- Books in Canada
"...They Hydrofoil Mystery is a lively, well-told tale that will bring young readers closer to their history." -- Quill & Quire
As a period piece with a wonderful portrait of Alexander Graham Bell in his element - humane, eccentric and, above all, inventive, this novel can certainly be recommended." -- The Globe & Mail
About the Author
Award-winning author Eric Walters is one of Canada’s best-known and most prolific writers of fiction for children and young adults. He has published over eighty novels, which have won over one hundred awards, including eleven separate children’s choice awards, and have been translated into over eleven languages around the world. He is the only three-time winner of both the Ontario Library Association Silver Birch and Red Maple Awards.