What was that book?

Ethan Barrister:

This is a curious use of my blog. But perhaps the Internet can help me.

At some point during my childhood, early grade school I would guess though I can’t pinpoint further (so circa 20 years ago?), one of my parents or elder siblings had a book.

It was mainly an art book, depicting various Indiana Jones-esque archaeological adventures. The one I most vividly remember was a battle on a rope bridge, with unfortunate explorers tumbling over the side into some great chasm. There was also an introductory page depicting the top of a desk or table, strewn with artifacts obtained from the scenes on the later pages. But beyond that, it was a sort of puzzle book: the pictures contained what looked like torn-up pieces of a journal or memoir. When pieced together, they provided… something. The backstory of the pictures and artifacts? Clues to some further puzzle or objective you needed to find by hunting for clues in the pictures? I don’t remember ever attempting what was needed to put them together; you’d have to either photocopy and cut up the pages, or trace the fragments with paper and pencil.

And the fact that I never did that, never understood the book or what it was ultimately about, haunts me to this day. I mean, that may be an overstatement, but for whatever reason I find myself remembering that strange book and thinking about it, every few years.

I don’t know the title, publisher, author, anything else about it beyond these memories. Oh Internet, do you know the mysterious tome of which I speak? …where I might find a copy of it? …if there are others in its unusual and memorable genre?

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5 thoughts on “What was that book?

  1. Mom says:

    I don’t remember battles on a bridge, but I had a book called, I think, the Malinsky Massacre, that was a mystery with clues you had to find throughout the book to solve the crime. Could that have been it?

    • SabreCat says:

      Hmm, interesting, could be the same genre anyway! Was it about pulp-style world-hopping explorers? I don’t remember a murder-mystery vibe, at least the way I normally think of murder mysteries…

  2. woodelf says:

    You live in Madison. The CCBC is headquartered in HC White Hall, and is perhaps the foremost source for analysis and research on children’s literature in the country. You should drop by and talk to someone. Or at least give them a call.

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