The Book of Mormon Sleuth 4: The Forgotten Treasure

Back Cover Text

   The sound of a siren came blaring over the boat’s loudspeaker. Then the captain’s voice yelled on the intercom: “Man overboard! Man overboard!”

   Frantically, I looked over the railing into the river, but there was too much mist and spray for me to see anything. I ran from one side of the boat to another, searching for any sign of Brandon or his blue poncho in the dark water.

   “Brandon!” I screamed. “Where are you?” But the thunder of the falls drowned out my voice.

   The Andrews family is taking another summer vacation—this time a tour of Church history sites in Kirtland and Palmyra, with a side trip to Niagara Falls. Jeff, Brandon, Shauna, and the other kids in the family are anxious to see all the famous places they’ve heard about. But the trip turns into an even bigger adventure when they learn that something of great value might still be hidden in the original Kirtland home of one of their ancestors. Things get really exciting when it becomes clear they aren’t the only ones anxious to get hold of the forgotten treasure. Could the answer to its location be found in the scriptures?

Book Review

Reviewed by Dayna Davis
Published by LDS Files

Now here is a book that I would truly recommend to my 12 year old nephew – and then enjoy talking to him about it after he read it. It reminds me of the Encyclopedia Brown stories that I used to read as a preteen – but with a gospel emphasis. I also have to say, that when I was done with this book – I was recommitted to having family home evening, family prayer, and daily scripture study. The author just makes these activities seem like so much fun! It is my goal to be a parent like the parents of the Andrews family. They just seem to be so cool!

Seriously, it did help that I had at least read the first book, and I was wishing by the time I was done that I had read the second one too. You don’t need to, but it does help. I love the fact that the author doesn’t give you all the answers – he encourages the reader to get their scriptures and look up the scripture reference on their own. I would encourage anyone 9 years old and up to read these books – and their parents would enjoy them too!
Reviewed: 14 August 2004      Copyright © 2004 LDS Files
Reviewed by Jeff Needle
Published by Association for Mormon Letters

“The Forgotten Treasure” continues the adventures of the Andrews family who, as the opening pages of this book remind us, are incapable of enjoying a normal family vacation. In previous volumes, they’ve encountered kidnapping, theft, plane crashes, and just about anything you can think of. And in every instance, their grounding in the principles of the Gospel and their knowledge of the scriptures see them through to safety.

The first book in the series brought the family to historic Nauvoo, where they first encountered the evil Dr. Anthony, who tried to steal a valuable Book of Mormon from the Andrews children, the intended recipients of the gift. Along the way, Andersen weaves instruction in both scripture and Church history, in a way easily understood by children. I commented at the time that making such knowledge enjoyable and accessible to young people was a wonderful idea, and well executed by the author.

Volumes two and three departed from the original model, taking the family to exotic and far-flung places. And while there were few explicit references to Church history sites, the principles of the Gospel were well taught, nicely used in moving the story along and presenting a solid model for the Latter-day Saint family.

The present volume, the fourth in the series, returns to the vision of the first — this time, the family visits historic sites in Kirtland and Palmyra. I was very glad to see author Andersen revisit this idea, and the present effort is even better than the first. This time, the family journeys to Kirtland to explore their family roots, and to unravel a mystery concerning one of their ancestors. They uncover a document that may very well lead them to a valuable treasure.

But they are not the only ones interested in this treasure. Others want to get their hands on the loot, without really knowing what it was. The family visits the home of one of their ancestors, meeting the delightful older couple now living in the house who become a vital part of the story. I was delighted at the author’s depiction of this wonderful non-Mormon couple, living in Kirtland, and ready to join in the Andrews family’s quest for their roots.

The cast of characters in this volume is, in my opinion, richer and better developed than in the previous volumes. And there is an ongoing tension throughout the story — although you suspect who the bad guys might be, you’re never quite sure that you’ve gotten it right. And the action is exceptionally well written, in particular a harrowing episode at Niagara Falls that left me breathless.

As with the first volume, this entry is rich in historical detail and insights into the early days of the Church. As the Andrews family travels from one site to the next, the reader is treated to a virtual travelogue, enhanced by the sometimes learned and often humorous comments of the children.

This series continues to deliver a fine and valuable addition to the corpus of Mormon literature for young people. Once again, I’m glad to commend this book — indeed, the entire series — and hope these books enjoy a wide readership.
Reviewed: 6 July 2004      Copyright © 2004 Jeff Needle
Reprinted by permission