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The Adventures of Vin Fiz: 04/14/13
The Adventures of Vin Fiz by Clive Cussler is the first of two adventure books starring fraternal twins Casey and Lacey. I read and reviewed the second book, The Adventures of Hotsy Totsy last year and was curious to see how the series started.
The book opens with a lengthy introduction to the Nicefolk family, their farm and Castroville, California. Yes, Castroville is known for its artichokes.
Cussler has a habit of using authorial insert to help his heros along. Here, as Sucoh Sucop, gets the entire series going. Sucoh appears at the farm offering to volunteer his time and labor during the harvest. As a parting gift, he leaves the twins a magical box that will make any toy become life size and real (with some caveats).
That's how Casey, Lacey and Floopy the dog end up on a strange cross-country adventure in a toy replica of Vin Fiz. Here is where things go from odd but plausible to head-scratching. The plane takes the twins to places that are more like moments in time from the original Vin Fiz, in those decades where 20th century innovations are starting to arrive but remnants of the 19th century still exist (the calvary and steam trains).
No explanation of the oddities of these towns are mentioned. They just are. Nor are the overly simplistic villains who keep appear explained. They just are and they come off like escapees from a Duddley Do-Right episode.
While these problems still exist in the second book, they are reined in. The adventures the Nicefolk twins have the second time are grounded in reality, even if their craft is once again enchanted.