03/05/2009

The Elusive Grasshopper (by Malcolm Saville)

I've enjoyed Malcolm Saville's teenage novels for many years, and re-read them periodically.

'The Elusive Grasshopper' was quite hard to find at one point, but I finally acquired it in 1975, and then re-read it, along with the rest of the 'Lone Pine' series (twenty in all) in 1985. They then sat on my shelves for a long time, moving with us to Cyprus eleven and a half years ago, and I am finally - slowly - re-reading them again. Not one after another this time, but spread out in between other books.

This book is the sixth in the 'Lone Pine' series, which is about a group of teenagers who have some exciting adventures in various locations in the UK. The Elusive Grasshopper is set in Rye, on the South Coast of England. It involves some new friends as well as old 'enemies' from a previous book. As always, danger abounds... but all ends well.

The characterisation and the character interactions are what lift Malcolm Saville's books out of the run-of-the-mill teenage adventure fiction of the 1950s. The people feel real, and there were one or two quite moving sections of this book. Dickie and Mary, the irrepressible (but extremely loyal and intelligent) ten-year-old twins are always a delight, and the other members of the Lone Pine club are now sixteen and seventeen, and beginning to notice each other romantically, albeit in a very low-key 1950s writing style.

Of course, this isn't the greatest of fiction, or even of children's fiction, but I found it very enjoyable for a couple of hours relaxation. Since I had only read this one twice, I'd totally forgotten what it was about, which made it all the more enjoyable.

The paperback versions are out of print again, though can sometimes be found second-hand. However a new facsimile version was printed in the UK, along with others in the series, and can sometimes be found second-hand.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 3rd May 2008

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

I frequently read teen fiction - I have a 12-year-old daughter so there's a lot of it in the house.

Don't think a book has to be great fiction to be enjoyable, sometimes being entertaining is enough.