Adults and Young Adults:
First book in The Jansen Family Detective Series.
A dollop of history, a smattering of humor, a baffling mystery, a wild adventure, and a thought-provoking presentation of the philosophic conflicts which were tearing the world apart in the 1940s, so comparisons can be made with those manifest today.
A grandfather and his grandsons – 10 and 15 – find themselves fleeing the city to escape some unknown threat in 1940 America. They arrive in a small, Arkansas, village, where they operate and live in a sawmill. The settlement is run by a religious fanatic, with whom they have disagreements and serious conflicts, which prompts discussions of authoritarian rule, prejudice and the Nazi threat to civilization.
It becomes to move to another, more typical, village, where they operate a small hotel. The grandfather must return to the city on a dangerous mission and the boys find themselves in a life and death struggle culminating in a dangerous confrontation as they maneuver a 20-ton steam engine down the rails at 90 miles an hour on a certain collision course with another train.