109. The Secret of the Silver Mines by Shane Peacock

The Secret of the Silver Mines by Shane Peacock (Out of Print)
A Dylan Maples Adventure, Book #2

Pages: 207
Ages: 12+
Finished: May 4, 2011
First Published: 2000
Publisher: Puffin Books
Genre: mystery, YA,
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

In a dark and dreary house at the top of a rocky hill, the old man huddles near a fireplace as the wind howls outside.

Acquired: Borrowed a copy through Inter-Library Loan.

Reason for Reading: Next in the series

Dylan and his family are headed for Cobalt, Ontario. None of them is happy about it. 500 kms north of Toronto all Dylan can think of is Hicks living in Hicksville. His parents aren't too happy either as his lawyer dad has taken a job against his usual principals of fighting for the underdog against big company conglomerations and this time has been paid enough money to pay off his mortgage to represent one of the biggest business men in T.O. to find out what happened to a quarter million dollars worth of silver supposedly stolen from his grandfather back before WWI by a man named Theobald T. Larocque. Just having found out about this theft he is determined to get his money back if it takes him the rest of his days. Upon arriving in Cobalt, the Maples family finds out that T.T. Laroque is still alive; the oldest citizen at 108 years of age but he hasn't spoken to anyone in the village for decades, even though half (or more) of them are directly related to him.

Dylan and his new friend, Wynonna, the old man's great-granddaughter, set out to solve the mystery of the missing silver and the secret that has kept Theo hidden away in seclusion for all these years before the lawsuit destroys the old man and the whole town.

A wonderful, interesting, fast-paced mystery. While Dylan is on the opposite side of his parents in this drama, his family retains the great respect for one other that I was impressed with in the first book. Showing the dynamics of a healthy family relationship. As Dylan and Wynonna get to know the old man, he starts to tell them old stories from the past; one) simply to live down memory lane and two) to give hints to the teens where the silver has been stashed all these years. Through these reminiscences a lot of historical information is imparted even though the book is not a historical fiction. One learns about the silver rush in Northern Ontario, something I've never come across in my reading before, and it's similarity, though on a lesser scale, to the gold rush is noticed. Then there is the lawlessness that goes with this type of environment and the further working conditions of the silver mines in a pre-world war one era. Then, interestingly enough the second most featured historical topic was that of the early days of hockey. Here we have the NHA (before it became the NHL) with the Montreal Canadians, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Wanderers, Cobalt Silver Kings, Vancouver Millionaires and Renfrew Creamery Kings playing to packed hockey arenas in the heart of the frozen north, with the likes of the early hockey hero "Cyclone" Taylor. I'm no hockey (or any sport) fan but the early day history of our national sport is certainly entertaining.

Adding this historical information to the cleverly plotted mystery which has lots of action to keep it going made for a entirely enjoyable drama. This proposes another interesting place I wouldn't mind going for a day visit. I've been on a tour of old coal mines in both BC and England; would be interesting to see an old silver mine. I'm looking forward to the next book especially since it takes place somewhere I've been numerous times.


  1. I have not yet read this book on Cobalt and I will be heading to my local book store to purchase soon. I am a local historian on the Cobalt Area and Live in one of the Original mine owners homes. Sir Henry Pellatt and/or Sir Harry Oakes both lived in the same residence. From your description of the book I can visualize several locations and buildings that could be used as the set. I highly suggest you take a look at what Google Street View has done. http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=Silver+Street+Cobalt+Ontario&oe=UTF-8&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Silver+St,+Cobalt,+Timiskaming+District,+Ontario+P0J+1C0&gl=ca&t=h&z=16

  2. Cool wwbbs! I recognized some of the street names from the book. The book is out of print so you'll either have to get a used copy on-line or visit the library. The Cobalt library should def. keep this one on the shelves!


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