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The Mystery of the Galloping Ghost (Trixie Belden) Paperback – September, 1986
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This book finds fourteen-year-old Trixie Belden, her best friend Honey Wheeler, and the Wheeler’s groom Regan traveling to a horse ranch in Minnesota to observe their training techniques with the pure bread Arabian horses they own.
However, the first night they are there, Trixie sees a strange horse and rider out the window that then vanish. It’s the next day she hears the local legend of the galloping ghost. When she meets a ghost hunter and strange things start happening around the ranch, Trixie begins to think there might actually be a ghost haunting the place. Can she figure out what is really happening?
As I said earlier, many fans of the series don’t like this book (or any of the final five). They have some legitimate complaints, too. This is the final book in the series, but the only regular characters we get are Trixie, Honey, and Regan. Of course, when this book came out, it wasn’t supposed to be the final book in the series. In fact, book forty was being written when the series was canceled. (And it would have finally brought Trixie to California, too!) They also complain about Honey’s crush on a character we meet in this book when it’s been established earlier in the series that Honey has a crush on Trixie’s older brother Brian. Honestly, this one bothers me, but not too much.
One reason these issues stick out to people is that they read this book as an adult and as the final book in the series. In fact, this book was in print for such a short amount of time that it can draw a large amount of money on the secondary market. I think one reason I feel the way I do about this book is because I read it as a teen while I was reading the rest of the series, and I probably had about half the series still to go when I read it for the first time. Additionally, I paid cover price. I’m sure if I paid a much higher price for it and read it as an adult, I’d be disappointed in it as well.
Not to say that the book is perfect. The mystery is flawed. It didn’t bother me as a teen when I first read it, but now reading it as an adult, I can see some serious flaws with it. It works, and I think kids won’t mind, so I’m willing to let it pass. It certainly has some interesting elements to it.
I actually kind of like the characters in this book. Trixie actually seems more aware of people’s feelings, something that is often missing in other books in the series. Honey reverts to her fraidy cat persona at one point, but that’s actually understandable considering what is happening. The characters aren’t as rich as they are in earlier books in the series overall, but they aren’t at their worst either.
I certainly don’t recommend paying a high price for this book, however. It isn’t the worst in the series, in my opinion, but it isn’t worth paying much money to read, either.
With the right expectations, I still find The Mystery of the Galloping Ghost enjoyable. While not Trixie’s best case, it is still a fun mystery for kids.
In this book, we have a resurfacing of the anti-development themes first introduced in "The Sasquatch Mystery" and the "Mystery at Maypenny's." But we also have Honey and Trixie acting pretty ridiculously to aid a ghost-hunter and search out the legend of the ghost. The mystery in this one was probably the most predictable of all of the books (there is only one suspect) and the book was so short that very few plot twists had time to develop. Although I like Honey and Trixie the best, I must admit that I missed the interaction of the other Bob-Whites. Overall, this book is a must-read for a Trixie die-hard, but a very disappointing ending to an otherwise fantastic series.