Now we come to one of my favourite books in the series. The cover has to include all four Bobbsey Twins (at least at this point-more on that when I get to the later books), but Bert was the only one of our fab four to view a UFO in the night sky.
But I get ahead of myself. This book opens with Nan feeling sick. So she asks her twin Bert to handle her babysitting job. Bert is usually game for anything, but the particular boy that needs babysat is Artie Houlihan-a hyper and mischievous brat! Bert finally agrees and goes. Hilarity ensues as Bert chases the supercharged lad around and tries to keep him out of trouble
|Looks like Bert's eggs are scrambled!|
Soon the chase leads to the backyard where Artie hides from Bert. As Bert tries to find the
Bert tries to tell the police and press what he witnessed, but they only humour him at best
|"You saw what son? A UFO? Did you see Bigfoot too?"|
Word is getting out about Bert's sighting, and he and his siblings decide to investigate. It looked like the UFO landed in a field a quarter mile or some from Artie's house, so the Bobbseys (and Artie who begs to tag along) go there. They find a patch of grass that looks blackened and burnt along with flattened areas. They find junk in the grassy field too including a coffee cup with "Cup 'n Saucer Diner" on it. This seems a tenuous link at best, but the Bobbseys know of a "Flying Saucer" diner. The owner is very friendly but has a "foreign" accent. He says that he bought the diner recently, and changed the "Cup 'n" to "Flying" to appeal to kids more who would patronize the shop, as well because the slight letter change was quite cheap. The twins also discover that the Cup 'n Saucer has been out of business for a couple years, but Felix Usher, a young man who lives as a hermit, lives in a shack where the cups were stored, and has access to several hundred of them which he probably uses. Flossie thinks his accent and strange mannerisms may mean that he is an alien in disguise. The older twins especially scoff at this idea.
But when the twins go back to their bikes they find a cassette in the basket of one of them. When they play it, they hear strange whooshing sci-fi sounds and a voice comes on telling them to stop searching.
Later that night, a scary alien head appeared at Flossie's window! Glowing evilly, with the same whooshing alien sound!
The twins make no progress questioning Felix Usher who is quite mean. Nan and Freddie return to the grassy field, but suddenly a high pitched whine disturbs the quiet of the lonely area! Then there is a blinding flash, and a tree near them bursts into flames! The two Bobbseys high-tail it to their bikes and pedal away. Freddie is quite terrified, but Nan smells a rat. When she catches up to Freddie, she calms him down and insists on going back to the tree. There is a charred ring that encircles the tree, and it looks like that is where the fire spreads. She determines that someone fastened a flare to the tree with wire and in harmony with sound effects from speakers hidden somewhere made it seem as if aliens were firing ray guns. Going back home, they see specks of paint on the windowsill of Flossie's room. It's a kind of phosphorus glow-in-the-dark paint. Looks like the nightly visitation was a trick too!
The twins do a background check on Milios, the café owner, and he checks out. So, what is the reason for the hoax? The twins spot the woman who claimed to be an author a few times too.
The twins backtrack the events. It seems that everything started with Bert's sighting. He remembers that he spotted the UFO shortly after he turned on a powerful spotlight to look for Artie. The Houlihans live in an isolated area that has no lights around it. In fact, the only light they spotted came from an area near the grassy field. The Bobbseys triangulate and realize that that is near where Felix Usher lives. They decide he is involved and call the police.
Long story short, the twins sabotage Felix's light, and with the police aiding them and the Houlihan's consent use a spotlight at night again. Turns out, Usher is part of a gang that stole a top-secret government helicopter that has a stealth "silent running" mode! Lenore is a government agent who was following up on all UFO sightings because the running lights on the chopper are as the spotters describe. They lure the chopper to land and arrest the villians
This is an EXCELLENT book! I loved (and still do) sci-fi, and this has a dash of that, along with creepiness (I remember getting chills when Flossie's room was invaded), and overall mystery. I had no idea what was happening (but figured it wasn't real aliens), and was very satisfied with the way everything wound up. A splendid book!
Take care 'till next time folks!