The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn

The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn - John Bellairs, Judith Gwyn Brown

Anthony Monday is John Bellair's third-string leading man. Like Lewis Barnevelt and Johnny Dixon, he befriends an elderly curmudgeon early on, head librarian Ms. Myra Eells, and he has a troubled home life. With Anthony, his mother worries constantly about money, and his dad is sick. What set Anthony apart, just this once anyway, is the complete lack of the supernatural.

The town of Hoosac is fairly unremarkable, but Anthony admires the unusual library constructed by the eccentric millionaire Alpheus Winterborn. It is high gothic with carving inside and out and marked with the legend "Believe Only Half of What You Read". The plot kicks in when Anthony lucks out and is given a job by Ms Eells as a library page (I asked my town librarian if she were hiring after I read this when I was 9 and she laaaughed), and, after some rough dusting, uncovers a treasure scavenger-hunt.

What's interesting about this book is the lengths Bellairs went to characterize Anthony, his anxieties for his parents and about money and his desire to make things easier for them. He is a very different character than the often-cowardly Lewis Barnevelt or the overshadowed Johnny Dixon. A fun puzzle, not so sure how it would hold up with today's youth, but I should have appreciated it more when I was younger.


Anthony Monday

Next: 'The Dark Secret of Weatherend'