Ben and Jake happen on what they believe is a treasure map; but when they try to find the treasure, they nearly lose their lives in an alligator-infested swamp. The boys have no problem following the map, which is concealed in a boat that they dig out of the river bottom near their homes; but when they start digging at the spot indicated, their troubles begin. Someone sets their boat adrift; when Ben tries to retrieve it, he's attacked by an alligator (as shown on the jacket); and the two friends nearly die in quicksand on the way home. It becomes obvious that someone is actually trying to kill them. By the time the boys are rescued, they have solved a murder. Despite intriguing plot elements, Wallace undermines suspense by clumsily betraying his denouement (readers know in advance how the boys will be rescued) and provides just one suspect for the would-be murderer. In any event, the adventure takes so long to get started that many readers will give up before it gets exciting. They won't, all told, be missing much.