The Ken Holt Series

The Ken Holt Series
Summaries of #1-9

  #1 The Secret of Skeleton Island
Ken Holt is fearful that his father has met up with foul play after Richard Holt fails to call Ken on the day he promised.  Ken calls Mr. Holt's editor, Granger, with his concerns, which are laughed off.  Ken next takes his concerns to the headmaster, who gives Ken permission to go to New York to check up on his father.

Ken goes to the station to await the next train.  Shortly after his arrival, a man walks up to Ken, introducing himself as a friend of Richard Holt.  The man offers Ken a ride to New York.  Too late, Ken realizes that the man and his companion are the criminals who have abducted Richard Holt.

With great difficulty, Ken breaks away from the men in the community of Brentwood.  Ken seeks refuge in the newspaper office as the men search for him.  Ken's hiding place is fortuitous since the Allen family gives him a place to stay and listens to Ken's wild story.

The Secret of Skeleton Island
While the Allens are skeptical of the events, they decide to help Ken out.  Ken and Sandy Allen set off together to investigate and find themselves in the most dangerous situation they have ever faced.
  #2 The Riddle of the Stone Elephant
Ken and Sandy travel by car to the Rockies to do preliminary research for Richard Holt ahead of his arrival.  Mr. Holt plans to write about a 20-year-old land feud in Colorado. 

Upon the boys' arrival in Mesa Alta, they are surprised that everyone seems to know the purpose of their trip.  Some residents greet the boys with hostility, including Bowleg, a man who is also staying at the inn.  Only one of the participants in the land dispute, Mr. Raymond, will talk to Ken and Sandy.  Mr. Wilson refuses.

The boys soon realize that someone is trying to prevent them from uncovering information about the case.  Mr. Raymond must be the person who needs to keep something hidden, but he is the one who appears to be cooperating.  Several attempts are made on the boys' lives, and they realize that they must be careful.

The Riddle of the Stone Elephant
How Ken and Sandy uncover the truth about the land dispute makes for a thrilling mystery.
  #3 The Black Thumb Mystery
The Allen family's good friend, bank employee Frank Brown, has been found guilty of participating in a bank robbery.  Making the situation even worse, Ken and Sandy had to testify at the trial, providing key evidence that cinched the conviction.  The Brown family is devastated and blames Ken and Sandy.

Ken and Sandy are certain that Brown is innocent, in spite of what they overheard him say.  To make amends, the boys begin an investigation into the robbery.  Mrs. Brown has hired a private investigator, Mr. Horn, who has promised to find evidence to exonerate Mr. Brown.  Ken and Sandy soon become suspicious of Horn, believing that he is only after Mrs. Brown's money.  The boys also wonder whether Horn is possibly part of the plot to frame Mr. Brown.

The Black Thumb Mystery
Ken and Sandy soon discover a tie-in to a lake property owned by the Browns as they try to figure out why someone wants Mr. Brown in prison.
  #4 The Clue of the Marked Claw
Ken and Sandy visit Ken's friend, Ted Bateson, on Long Island.  The boys overhear a conversation soon after their arrival, where Mr. Bateson tells Ted that he wishes Ken and Sandy hadn't come.  The boys consider leaving, but then they learn that the Batesons are having trouble with someone stealing lobster from their traps.  Ken and Sandy offer to help the Batesons with their traps while they work towards finding out who is stealing the lobster.

The boys soon notice a mysterious ship in the harbor at night and wonder whether the ship could be tied to the mystery.  Several men behave suspiciously, but none worse than Jackson, who is openly belligerent towards the other men.  Jackson is the Batesons' prime suspect, but they are unable to get proof.  There is no way to keep watch on the traps without the culprit knowing about it. 

The Clue of the Marked Claw
Ken and Sandy finally get a chance to confront the culprit, resulting in an exciting conclusion to the mystery.
  #5 The Clue of the Coiled Cobra
Ken and Sandy give a ride to a hitchhiker named Fenton.  Fenton comes across as a gentle person who is down on his luck, which makes the boys feel sorry for him.  After the boys drop Fenton off in Brentwood, an insurance investigator questions Ken and Sandy about Fenton.  The boys are chagrined to learn that Fenton took part in a bank heist and recently got out of prison.  It is believed that Fenton hid the stolen money near Brentwood, and the investigator hopes to recover the money.

Ken and Sandy take a keen interest in the case, as they hope to atone for their role in aiding Fenton.  Ken and Sandy discover some evidence left behind after someone tampered with their car.  The boys follow a series of clues to a nearby amusement park, where they discover Fenton in hiding.

The Clue of the Coiled Cobra
A dangerous encounter with a snake awaits the boys as they close in on Fenton.
  #6 The Secret of Hangman's Inn
Joe Driscoll, longtime worker at the Brentwood Advance, fails to show up at work.  The Allens know something is wrong, because Joe would never shirk his duties.  Ken and Sandy go to Joe's home, which they find empty.  There is no sign of Joe, and none of his belongings are missing.  The Allens try to get the police involved, but the police refuse to take action since Joe might have gone on a trip.

The Allens find a note addressed to Joe that mentions the Black One and later receive a mysterious telegram from Joe that does not make sense.  Ken and Sandy are certain that Joe is a victim of foul play, so they travel to Crandon to search for the Black One.  The boys learn that Joe is a birdwatcher, and they visit a nearby marsh that Joe frequents.  In the marsh, the boys witness strange behavior by some men up at the railroad tracks, which later leads them to an abandoned inn.

The Secret of Hangman's Inn
Ken and Sandy find Joe, but not before they find themselves captured by a ruthless gang.
  #7 The Mystery of the Iron Box
Richard Holt has purchased Mom Allen an ornate iron box for Christmas.  The box is old but not very valuable.  Someone broke into Mr. Holt's apartment while the iron box was in the apartment and later into the Allen home after Mr. Holt arrived with the iron box.  Ken is ridiculed by the Allen family as he theorizes that someone wants the iron box.

Ken takes the iron box to a jeweler for a repair after it was dropped, and someone sets a trash can on fire in front of the counter upon which the iron box sets.  This further convinces Ken that someone wants the box.  Ken and Sandy tangle with a group of men who appear to be involved, and the boys ultimately end up on a barge out at sea, where they finally learn the secret of the iron box.  The cost of learning the truth is great, as the boys are held captive on a barge that is in danger of sinking.

The Mystery of the Iron Box
How Ken and Sandy get out of their predicament makes for a thrilling adventure.
  #8 The Clue of the Phantom Car
Ralph and Mort Conner run a transport business.  Their business has been plagued by accidents during the last six months, and they have made a number of claims with their insurance company.  One night, Ralph Conner runs off the road on a rural hill after he is blinded by the headlights of an oncoming car.  No evidence of another car can be found, so the accident is blamed on Ralph.  The brothers lose their insurance, and the brothers are forced to sell their business.

Ken and Sandy are certain that if Ralph says he saw a car, then a car was on that road that night.  The boys brainstorm ideas, trying to find some evidence that will prove that Ralph is telling the truth.  Ken and Sandy find nothing, so they focus their efforts on the man who bought the Conners' business.  That angle also results in a dead end.

The Clue of the Phantom Car
How Ken and Sandy doggedly uncover a nefarious plot will keep readers engaged until the last page.
  #9 The Mystery of the Galloping Horse
In four days, Richard Holt will testify before a grand jury about a crime syndicate that operates along the ocean front.  The syndicate has forced men to pay protection money for years while they carry out a wide range of crimes.  Richard Holt has uncovered some damaging information, and his testimony will help bring down the syndicate.  Holt's life has been threatened, and he fears that the syndicate will come after Ken and Sandy.

Sandy thinks of a friend who is planning an archaeological dig and gets his friend to agree to let Ken and Sandy join the dig.  The boys are chased by members of the syndicate as they leave Brentwood, but finally they get away safely to the dig.  The boys discover a mystery at the dig with the sounds of ghostly galloping horse heard at night and strange men trespassing in the area.

The Mystery of the Galloping Horse
Ken and Sandy become engrossed with the mysterious events at the dig site, while Ken continues to worry about his father's safety.
Back to Ken Holt
Back to Main Page