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Mel Lyle Books In Order

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Publication Order of A Power Boys Adventure Books

The Mystery of the Haunted Skyscraper (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mystery of the Flying Skeleton (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mystery of the Burning Ocean (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mystery of the Million-Dollar Penny (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mystery of the Double Kidnapping (1966)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mystery of the Vanishing Lady (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon

Mel Lyle is the pseudonym of an author or authors who work with Whitman Publishing in the production of the highly popular “Power Boys” series of novels.

It has been suggested that it is highly likely that Mel is two authors given the comments by a former Whitman Publishing editor William Larson.

According to Larson, if more than one novel was published in any of their series in any given year, it was usually penned by at least two people.

According to an article published in the Chicago Tribune in 1964, Whitman sometimes allowed two authors to pen their works using one pen name such as Mel Lyle or Julie Campbell.
Nonetheless, Whitman Publishing often restricted authors to one byline given that most juvenile readers sent complaints once they detected differences in style.

While there is information on who wrote what novels for other Whitman works such as those by the likes of William Rosenberg, there is hardly any information on the real identity of Mel Lyle.

The “Power Boys” mysteries by Mel Lyle have been some of the most popular juvenile novels in recent decades.

Mel Lyle published “The Mystery of the Haunted Skyscraper,” the debut novel of the series in 1964, and three years later, the series had at least half a dozen works.
In 1986, “The Armchair Detective” speculated that Mel Lyle might have gotten inspiration from some other popular Whitman Publishing series.

In 2010, “Yellowback Library” in its October Issue reviewed the second novel in the series “The Mystery of the Flying Skeleton.”

Another review of the series was published in “Susabella Passengers and Friends,” in which they asked readers if they had any idea of the identity of Mel Lyle the author.
Unfortunately, no one ever came forward with information on who Mel Lyle was.

Mel Lyle’s “The Mystery of the Haunted Skyscraper” is the work in which we were introduced to the “Power Boys.” They were siblings who were central to half a dozen mystery fiction stories for children during the 1960s.
From early on in the book, we are introduced to the fifteen-year-old Chip and seventeen-year-old Jack. Their father is a photojournalist while their mother is dead.

They recently arrived in New York as tourists on vacation when their father was called to take photographs of a wildfire in California.

He assumes the kids will be fine and leaving them with some money he heads west. The teens soon get entangled with an elderly widow who is in charge of work on a skyscraper that is under attack by poltergeists.
Given the hauntings, construction has slowed down to a crawl and hence the kids get to work snooping around and investigating. They have no issues taking a ride to the highest point of the building to watch the construction workers do their thing.
These works are from a more innocent and simpler time as compared to the likes of Hardies, Ken Holt, or Biff Brewster.

The “Power Boys” alternately persevere, bluster, and stumble until they right all the wrongs as they occasionally exclaim “Cool” or “Neat” when things go well.
When it is all said and done, their father comes back to New York and to congratulate them for being good kids, he gives them a puppy.

Mel Lyle’s “The Mystery of the Flying Skeleton” has Mr. Power the father to Jack and Chip heading to an event in Key West Florida. He leaves the Power Boys at a hotel outside the city, even though he believes it might be too rough for them.
As soon as he is gone, they get themselves entangled in mysterious activities nearby, where some developer is building a new building that might drive their motel out of business.

Things get interesting when we learn that a massive hurricane is heading their way.

Meanwhile, the developer planted some ancient bones on the building site and then went on to hold a press conference announcing the discovery on the site of his proposed development.
The man believes the publicity will be the launching pad for his venture but Chip tells the developer to get scientists to identify and verify the bone find.

The man agrees to do that and almost instantly, the Power Boys feel guilty as they believe their new friend may lose his business when the find is discovered to be nothing but a huge fraud.
As the hurricane draws even closer, the boys trespass into the development looking to investigate and while at it, they find the man who stumbled upon some ancient bones in Ohio.

Soon enough, their father Mr. Power comes back to take the Power Boys to safety while a dark plot comes to light dooming the new motel in the process.

Mel Lyle’s “The Mystery of the Burning Ocean” is a work in which the “Power Boys” do something that most people not just kids would love to do – scuba diving.

Chip and Jack Power have been in the Caribbean with their father as he travels around looking for some great shots.

They had been due to head back to New York their home city but when their father gets some pressing assignment, he allows them to hang back for a while. Nonetheless, he tells them to be careful with their diving before he leaves.
But then adventure falls at their feet when another holidaying teen collapses right in front of them. The teenager is Bob who is determined to find a figurine that went down with his father’s yacht.

In his last testament, his father had said that Bob would have to get back the figurine before he would be allowed to inherit. When he discovers that Chip and Jack know how to scuba dive, he asks them to teach him so that he can fulfill his father’s wishes.
The three teenagers are aware of a protagonist but there are two candidates they believe could be their target. Clues are pointing to either man being the protagonist but this is never resolved until the very end.

The author combines a hint of danger with adventure both from the opposition and from diving around a shipwreck.

Given that this is a work based on exploring sunken ships and diving as the central adventure concepts, it is an interesting work that will have you in thrall from the first page to the last.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Mel Lyle

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