This book claims to have been written by a very proper, The Droning Voice is sure, gentleman by the name of “Victor Appleton”. In reality, though, it was ghost-written by some shadowy member of the Stratmeyer Syndicate. THOSE people had an iron grip on fiction aimed at children of all ages, and trust The Droning Voice when she says you probably need to be VERY COMPLIMENTARY of their publications. The Droning Voice was morbidly curious about their reach, though, so, with trembling fingers, looked them up on Wikipedia.
OMG. They started publishing in 1899, and appear to have maybe finished up in 2005. Maybe. You never know.
There were also subsequent iterations of “Tom Swift”, but this particular book was published in the first set, before Tom became associated with witty adverbs, otherwise known as “Tom Swifties”.
No silly puns in THIS book, no sirree. In fact, one of the first things we need to do is examine the characters of the story, namely:
Tom Swift – Our hero, and youthful inventor of high character. Intimidated by a roomful of pretty girls. Well-respected by all except the town bully who is just jealous.
Andy Foger – said bully, and pain in the neck. After he destroys Tom’s lovely little monoplane, Tom declares Andy to be a “scoundrel”. Tom and Andy have a skirmish early in the book that, today, would have resulted in multiple felony chargers.
Mr. Wakefield Damon – Eccentric and fanboy of Tom. He blesses EVERYTHING, BTW. In this book, a few of his things he blesses include: watch-chain, multiplication tables, kitchen-range, collar button, shoe-laces, deflection rudder, pocket knife, radiator, individuality, gizzard, storage battery…you get the drift.
Mary Nestor – Tom’s girlfriend. She makes an appearance in the book mainly to provide apple turnovers, and to worry about her parents. Poor Mary had Tom drive her to the “Intelligence Office”, which is, apparently, where one went to find employees, when one’s cook abruptly quits on one for demanding apple turnovers, and one simply didn’t know what one was going to do. Mary certainly seemed incapable of creating apple turnovers. And, as everybody knows, the BEST cooks are Irish, so that is what Mary had to have. Not to be racist. Speaking of which
Eradicate Samson – is the handyman about town, who always travels with his trusty steed, Boomerang the mule. The Droning Voice points out that Tom lives in NY state, but that Eradicate speaks a particular “southern” dialect, which was dutifully transliterated by “Mr. Appleton”, and then attempted to be pronounced by The Droning Voice. If you thought her French was bad, just wait until you hear this. Also, The Droning Voice finds the name of this character particularly apt, and wonders if “cancel culture” won’t come for her, possibly beating the Stratmeyer Syndicate to the punch.
Oh, yeah. The plot. Most of the book is devoted to flying about either in Tom’s monoplane or on Mr. Fenwick’s airship, which, The Droning Voice assumes, was some sort of dirigible. At any rate, they load up this airship with piles of supplies for a test-flight/day journey, get caught in a hurricane, get swept down to somewhere near the West Indies and crash on an island which is about to collapse from earthquakes. The SAME island where Mary’s parents wind up shipwrecked from a pleasure cruise. Of course. And Tom, of course, figures out how to create a ham station from the airship wreckage, complete with shack, sends out “C.Q.D.” and gets them all rescued. Really, it’s a GREAT book. Please call off your goons.
Pleasant dreams, devoid of goons.