I thought this a better integrated story and mystery than its predecessor, The Secret of the Old . The four Mill children are nice youngsters, and real; b's detective instincts, bolstered by the book he won, have full scope for operation when they find foreigners and a golden haired toddler hiding in the ruins of the mystery house. To be sure, the identity of the villain is not too deeply probed, but it doesn't seem to matter. Good enough as a straight family story, with the added element of mystery which over nine and ten year olds enjoy. Sandra James' illustrations look a little dated.