Biff Brewster Mystery Adventures
A short-lived juvenile fiction series from the 1960s is the Biff Brewster series. Published by Grosset & Dunlap from 1960 to ’65, it was not created by the Stratemeyer Syndicate. Thirteen novels were put out during that five-year span, written by about four authors, under the house name of Andy Adams.
Biff is a 16-year-old boy. His father works for a mining company, which means frequent travels to various exotic locations. So on his vacations, Biff accompanies his father. There, he gets involved in some mystery, joined by a local boy that he befriends in each of these locations (luckily ones that knows English!), which considering the time period is pretty progressive. Also, because of the foreign locations, the books have an element of travelogue, giving a lot of local color to the story.
The series consists of:
- Brazilian Gold Mine Mystery (1960)
- Mystery of the Chinese Ring (1960)
- Hawaiian Sea Hunt Mystery (1960)
- Mystery of the Mexican Treasure (1961)
- African Ivory Mystery (1961)
- Alaska Ghost Glacier Mystery (1961)
- Mystery of the Ambush in India (1962)
- Mystery of the Caribbean Pearls (1962)
- Egyptian Scarab Mystery (1963)
- Mystery of the Tibetan Caravan (1963)
- British Spy Ring Mystery (1964)
- Mystery of the Arabian Stallion (1964)
- Mystery of the Alpine Pass (1965)
As noted, there were several authors involved. Necessary to get out several books in the same year. Three are known, and there is a pulp connection! Edward Pastore wrote #1, 5, 8, and 9. Peter Harkins, who had co-written the first three Rick Brant novels, wrote #6, 10, 11, 12. Walter Gibson, the creator and main author of The Shadow, wrote #4, 7, 13 and rewrote #1 and 9. It’s unknown who wrote #2 and 3, but some feel it was the same person. The re-writes of Gibson cause some confusion in authorship between different sources, as some give Gibson full credit for those.
I’m not sure how popular the series was. The books came out with dust jackets at first, but the last three were done in “picture cover” format, as were reprints of the first three. A few years back, American Web Books (a defunct imprint of Applewood Books that was also trying to bring back in print Rick Brant), put out a reprint of #8, Mystery of the Caribbean Pearls, and #13, Mystery of the Alpine Pass. I’m told the series is more or less in the public domain and several can be found in Kindle format on Amazon.
The first two books in the series are available as paperbacks from Wildside Press.
Overall, it’s a nice series, with ups and downs with the books due to different authors. But this may be a series worth checking out.