OK, this book threw me a little. First, the titular code barely appears in the book at all, so the title doesn't match the contents well - but I had a hard time coming up with an alternative - "Trixie Belden and the Possible Antique Thieves" just doesn't sing out from the bookshelf, you know? Reading this book it was hard to shake the idea that it was a parody of books from this era written in modern times, as so many weird or silly things happen:
- Trixie and Bobby are going home in a snowstorm and masked men rob them of a small wooden lapdesk
- Trixie, her brother, and their friend Jim are lost in a blizzard and end up spending the night in a deserted cabin; during this ordeal Jim almost gets lost in the blizzard trying to find wood to start a fire, and a strange old man returns the stolen lap desk to this deserted cabin during the height of the blizzard - but doesn't knock on the door to announce his presence, help them get home, help them collect wood, etc.
- The school board threatens to disband the kids' "secret club" that is so secret the entire town knows everything about it, including its name, all the members, etc.
- The book mainly centers on the ups and downs of putting on a charity antique show and sale to raise money for UNICEF - so the not-so-secret-club won't get disbanded by the school board - which shouldn't have any jurisdiction over a non-school-related club in the first place... ???
- Mysteries, such as the code and a mysterious jewel box that's found in Honey's attic, are brought forth and then solved only a few pages later, lest we take time away from the antique show preparation
I'm a fan of antiques and I have no problem supporting UNICEF, but this book was just out of place somehow compared to the other two books of this series I happen to own and have on hand. At the same time, its weirdness made it oddly endearing to me. It makes me wonder if the "Black Jacket Mystery" will end up being about how Trixie and her friends raise some chicks in the back yard after a cursory 2-page mystery about a newcomer to town who wears a black jacket and turns out to be selling chickens; or if the "Mystery of the Emeralds" is really just a half-page mixup about why Ireland is called the Emerald Isle after which Trixie and company spend the rest of the book riding horses through the woods after school. I joke because I love, really :)