The Vanishing Shadow by Margaret Sutton (1932) This is the first book of the Judy Bolton mystery series in which we get to know Judy and some of her friends and the small town setting. She is inquisitive and smart and somewhat restless. She stumbles upon a mystery involving the building of the local dam—shortcuts taken in its materials and construction that has dire consequences down the road. Judy is also concerned with her brother, Horace, and his paralyzing fear, and she does everything she can to try to change him. She is definitely a person of action, who then is aware of not only the benefits but the consequences of her involvement—so she is often filled with questioning and anxiety—but she pushes onward with great courage. There is also a pretty fascinating and hilarious spelling bee, and it's fun to imagine a time and place where a spelling bee would, for a few days, take hold of a community.
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