The Mill Creek Irregulars

The Mill Creek Irregulars

The summaries have been adapted from the front flaps of the dust jackets.
  #1 The Moon Tenders
Steve Grendon and Sim Jones plan to build themselves a raft and go down the Wisconsin on an exploring trip to hunt for the lost Winnebago treasure which might still be hidden in a cave on Bogus Bluff.  It takes some doing to get the expedition started, but finally the boys are on the way.

It is dusk when they reach Bogus Bluff, but they decide to go straight up to the cave to explore.  First they find footprints, then they search carefully and find that some of the stones in the wall of the cave are fitted.  Working the stones, they uncover a hidden chamber.  Sim whistles with astonishment when they look in and see it is full of a lot of things no one would ever expect to find in a cave.  They examine everything in the secret room.  Just as they decide to go back to the raft to spend the night, they realize that two men stand in the entrance, looking in at them.

The Moon Tenders
There is no escape, and Steve and Sim find themselves prisoners of as engaging and astonishing a pair of rascals that ever lived.  What happens after that, how they finally manage to get free, and the final result of their treasure hunt, all add up to a lively and completely fascinating story which everyone will want to read and enjoy.
  #2 The Mill Creek Irregulars: Special Detectives
Steve Grendon, with his big ideas and his imagination, and Sim Jones, with his good old horse sense, team up once again and get themselves deeply involved in a mystery that proves to be almost more of an adventure than they wanted.  This time they form a band of special detectives, calling themselves The Mill Creek Irregulars, to solve the problem of the strange goings-on at a nearby farm.

This leads to many things, including temporarily setting aside their summer fishing plans, much to Sim's dismay.  Steve and Sim get the proper equipment for detective work and partake upon spy work by day and by night, in addition to a great deal of other activity that is a new and exciting experience.  The boys encounter some very real surprises, not all of them pleasant.

The Mill Creek Irregulars: Special Detectives
Their fascinating detective work winds up in a spectacular and awe-inspiring finish, and their work can be called a great success.  It is even worth the price of their short, unwilling stay in the local jail.
  #3 The Pinkertons Ride Again
There isn't much excitement for Steve Grendon and Sim Jones to find in the quiet streets of Sac Prairie or in the surrounding countryside.  If any is to be found, trust this pair to be right in the thick of it, including...

Train robbers!

When Steve and Sim, taking the short cut through the woods after a day of fishing, see a light in the abandoned cabin and quietly discover what the two rough-looking strangers are plotting, it is the real thing, a big and dangerous adventure.

Naturally no one believes their story.  Even Grandfather Adams thinks Steve is working his imagination overtime.  Grandpa advises Steve to write a book and call it The Pinkertons Ride Again!

The Pinkertons Ride Again
So the boy detectives are entirely on their own, and with no help or understanding from the grownups, the Pinkertons do "ride again."  They keep track of the robbers and at the same time prepare their own counterplot to foil the gang.  In a spectacular and wild windup, Steve and Sim score a triple knockout and round up the bandits, even though in the turmoil Steve very nearly demolishes a train, locomotive and all.
  #4 The Ghost of Black Hawk Island
That remarkable pair, Steve Grendon and Sim Jones, become involved this time in a hairy adventure on an island right smack in the middle of the famed Wisconsin Dells.  Steve, the imaginative one, has the idea for this camping trip, and Sim, the practical one, sees to it that the plans and the equipment are in good working order.

But neither of them counts on seeing a ghost on Black Hawk Island.  What it looks like is the ghost of an Indian chief.  The boys can see feathers around the top of its head as well as arms and legs and what looks like bones all aglow in the dark woods.  That thing—whatever it is—sings, chants, or wails.

By the time Steve and Sim figure out what might be going on, they become even more deeply involved, because just as they get on the trail of the "ghost," they are themselves suspected and trailed.

The Ghost of Black Hawk Island
With some help from a young Winnebago named Fire Bear, Steve and Sim not only escape from the clutches of the law and the ghost, but also find a solution to the mysterious doings at Black Hawk Island.
  #5 The Tent Show Summer
Trouble is a mild word for the highly exciting and dangerous things that happen to Steve Grendon and Sim Jones during the summer.  It all begins quietly enough.  Steve has the idea of going to the tent show, and Sim, cautious as ever, decides to go along.

Every summer Brooks' Stock Company comes to Sac Prairie, and there is nothing odd about the two boys going to the first-night show.  What is odd, though, is that just as they hand their tickets to Maude Brooks, the village marshal, Mike Kurth, comes running up, hollering, "Stop this show! Stop this show!"

At this point Steve thinks and acts so fast that he outwits Mike Kurth—and the show goes on.  From then on, Steve and Sim are in trouble, though they certainly don't realize how bad it is.

The Tent Show Summer
Once again these two amateur detectives have a man-sized problem on their hands.  It becomes an adventure that outpaces Steve's vivid imagination and calls for all Sim's good common sense.  It involves a midnight slashing of the big tent, fire in the woods, attempted murder, warnings, and arrest—all adding up to the most sinister puzzle they have ever faced together—and one they solve none too soon.
  #6 The Irregulars Strike Again
Steve Grendon has a flair for imagination—and trouble.  Cautious as ever, practical Sim Jones can't resist Steve's ideas, even though he knows beforehand what is likely to come of them.  That night at the church Christmas Pageant is no exception, for Steve knows his pal won't say "no" to the thought of a vacation in the country feasting on Great-aunt Lou Stoll's holiday cooking.

Sim can't really think of any work for amateur detectives way off in the Wisconsin Bluffs during the dead of winter—that is, until he sees what Steve has packed into the back of Great-uncle Joe's sleigh.  "You can never tell what we'll need out there," Steve said innocently.  As it turns out, they do need it all—even the flares.

It never takes long for suspicion to invade the minds of the Mill Creek Irregulars.  As they step out of Joe Brilliot's borrowed cabin to go ice fishing, they find Sepple Bollinger, the town hobo, actually abiding by the law—fishing in season.

The Irregulars Strike Again
This is suspicious in itself, and steers the boys straight into a dangerous "out of season" hunt which nearly costs them their lives.  What are two hunters doing with a hearse, dogs, and a string of rabbits which have been dead for days?  Steve and Sim poke their noses a little too close to the truth and as a result find themselves staring down into a menacing gun barrel!
  #7 The House by the River
Even the river isn't safe for the Mill Creek Irregulars, and for once the trouble that Steve and Sim find themselves in comes from one of Sim's ideas rather than from Steve's fertile imagination.  The canoe trip down the Wisconsin River to its fork with the Mississippi at Prairie du Chien is supposed to be nothing more than a sporting holiday in the canoe that Sim has inherited for the summer, and its first part is just that and nothing else.

But at Prairie du Chien the boys chance on the Villa Louis, a rambling old house.  Their first visit to it is innocent enough—they want to get some water from its pump.  The open cellar door is just too much of a temptation to Steve, though, and with Sim as his protesting and reluctant companion, they discover a mysterious cellar cache.  As if this is not enough to spur them on to closer investigation, suspicious cargo coming and going from the house by truck and seaplane make it a natural for on-the-spot prying.

The House by the River
The boys uncover a lot of senseless details—strange notes in an art book, weather reports from a nonexistent weather bureau, stories of ghosts—before they are surprised and taken prisoner by the Villa caretaker.  And contrary to Sim's assertion, they are not safe from jail on the river, as they discover when they extricate themselves from the really serious menace of desperate gangsters who kill as a matter of fact in their everyday work.
  #8 The Watcher on the Heights
"First thing you know you'll have me in trouble again," Sim tells Steve.  Then his gaze falls upon a two by four along one wall of the abandoned barn in the woods.  On the board is a ragged, newspaper photograph, yellow with age, of the now retired banker, Oscar Corey.  And straight through one of the picture's eyes is a spike!  Whoever is hiding out in the barn definitely does not like Mr. Corey, and that same person watches him every day with a rifle from the heights over the river where he fishes.

The irrepressible Mill Creek Irregulars are never able to pass up a mystery, and their nosiness over this one soon uncovers an old story of embezzlement and makes them witnesses to a murder attempt.  Before long the danger that at first seems imaginary becomes frighteningly real.

The Watcher on the Heights
With their usual ingenuity and pluck, Steve and Sim then stage a bizarre scene, involving ghosts and exploding rockets, which eventually unearths the truth, and in the process they learn that justice has many meanings.
  #9 The Prince Goes West
"You must be crazy," hollers Sim. "Whatever they're doing over there it's dangerous. Why else would they carry guns?"

From their campsite on Andy's Island, Steve, Sim, and Pete watch some strange goings-on across the river at an abandoned sawmill.  When they sneak over at night to investigate, they find a boy their own age—bound, gagged, and tied to a post.

What started out to be a fishing trip spins into one of the most amazing adventures the Mill Creek Irregulars have ever been involved in when the boy tells them that his name is Ahmad and that he is the son of the Khan of Samashar.  He has been kidnapped from a hotel in Chicago, and Steve decides that the answer to the plot against the Prince must lie in that city.

The Prince Goes West
Intrigue at a foreign court, some interference by the Secret Service, and a wild, bullet-sprayed chase down the river are all part of Ahmad's mystery, and, as usual, a reluctant Sim and a venturesome Steve are in the thick of it.
  #10 The Three Straw Men
Something mysterious is going on in Sac Prairie, and no one seems to notice—except for Steve Grendon.  Innocently enough, Steve and Sim Jones apply for a job at the canning company during the harvest season.  Steve sees Fat Teape transferring large quantities of sugar from the cannery to Folsom's Fashion Center.  His curiosity aroused, he pays a midnight visit to Folsom's just in time to eavesdrop on a heated argument about money between the three Folsom brothers.  Steve's presence is discovered, and Ormond Folsom gives him a grim warning.

The next day at work, Steve is similarly warned by the village policeman, Mike Kurth, and then again by the oily and ambitious Mr. Elgy, the justice-of-the-peace.  The cautious Sim, fearing jail or worse, decides to mind his own business.  But Steve, convinced more than ever that something is gravely wrong, enlists the aid of Pete Bandheim for some discreet spying.

The Three Straw Men
Wherever they go, the eyes of the Folsom brothers lurk not far behind.  Voices unknown to them are heard arguing long after the store has closed.  Trucks that arrive empty under cover of darkness leave deep tire impressions when they depart.  Then one night as the boys are returning home from a fishing expedition, they are lured by a signal lamp in back of Folsom's.  Stealthily they creep through the open cellar door and become trapped in a thrilling climax, and in a fight for their lives.
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