The Price of a good thrill;Books;Fiction round-up

26th February 1999 at 00:00
Willard Price not only knew how to spin a yarn, he knew how to write. As a consequence his prose is as fresh today as it was nearly 50 years ago. Eight of the Adventure series have been repackaged (Red Fox, pound;2.99 each) and given another well-deserved lease of life.

So what if the stolid Hal and his mischievous younger brother, Roger, are unlike any teenagers who ever lived? So what if the notion of their father, John Hunt, animal collector extraordinaire, pitching his sons into perilous escapade after perilous escapade, is impossible to credit? This is adventure writing with a license to go for broke. Anyone reading these books will experience a hardboiled writing style not commonly found in children's fiction.

South Sea Adventure, the second title in the series and first published in 1953, has a pacy plot and a good variety of tone. Price can do funny as well as edge-of-the-seat stuff; at one stage Hal is showering naked in the rain on the boat deck when Roger comes up from below dressed as a woman. And no reader will come away from an Adventure title without one new piece of knowledge that will stick in their memory - in this book, it's likely to be the differences between a squid and an octopus.

The good news for those who get hooked by these eight titles is that there are several more waiting to be re-issued.

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