Ripping Book Review—Mystery At Shadow Mountain

WARNING: Ripping Book Reviews are solely the judgments of Professor VJ Duke on an unlucky book that has caused him much repulsion—in one way or another. Therefore, blame must be put on the professor and nobody else. With that in mind, read on—if you are brave enough to take it.


This is a novel that only the professor would find. What I mean to say is, in order to find this novel, one would have to look diligently in the tiniest crevices and corners in an out-of-the-way bookstore—and maybe even then it wouldn’t be found.

If any of the Punchy Family members are aware of this book, please let me know!

There is really no mystery at Shadow Mountain. In fact, the title would be more appropriate if it was Nothing At Shadow Mountain, since there’s nothing; no suspense, mystery, or intrigue.

I would like to quote from the inside flap of the novel:

…Van, Poke, Jim, and their friends (who couldn’t leave a mystery alone) are clever and likeable. There are also other characters—equally clever but less likeable. How their sinister schemes were discovered and what happened after that make a first-rate story of suspense and intrigue. But it is more than that. There is delightful humor (where there’s Poke there’s fun!)…

The professor takes a few issues with this inscription.

Firstly, there’s a blight. Yes, that’s right: This paragraph has a strange blight. We’ll call it The Wrong Descriptive Words Blight.

The first two sentences should read like this:

Van, Poke, Jim, and their friends (who couldn’t leave a Nothing alone) are dim and frustrating. There are also other characters—equally dim but less frustrating.

Ah, everything becomes much clearer when the paragraph is revised to read as it should.

But this raises an interesting question. Who would cause more vexation: Van, Poke, Jim, and their friends, who are dim and frustrating? Or, other characters who are equally dim but less frustrating? Personally, I think the former, but it’s really personal preference.

Secondly, this professor feels for the poor person who had to put this paragraph together. You see, he was trying to make an interesting story out of a boring story. An impossibility. All he succeeded in doing was writing his own story.

Thirdly, and lastly, the last sentence is wanting. You see, it’s a bit deceiving. It makes one think that Poke is responsible for humor, but in reality, it is Poke’s actions which are humorous. In fact, Poke can be laughed to scorn. Certainly not the humor that the author had intended, I think.

Now, I think we should mention Toyoc, a dog. But Toyoc is no ordinary dog. No, Toyoc is a genius. Very smart and able to understand…English… That’s right: Toyoc understands English.

This is the scene:

A man has come uninvited to someone’s house. Poke works for the owner of the house and he’s out in the field when the man approaches. That’s when Poke leans over to Toyoc and says:

“Stranger; get rid of him; but don’t hurt him.”

And that’s exactly what the dog does. I say, the professor would love to have a dog like that. I wonder how Poke taught him English. It’s even more of a wonder when Poke doesn’t speak properly himself.

I feel we should speak briefly about Van, Jim, and Poke here. (The names are horrid, by the way.)

It’s really hard to tell the differences betwixt these three. But the professor will try to tell you the main differences.

Van is called Van, and not Jim. Difference. Jim is called Jim and not Van. Difference. And Poke is called Poke and neither Van nor Jim. Difference. Also, Poke has trouble speaking. That’s about it.

One more thing. Van, Jim, and Poke all have one more attribute in common: An incredible appetite. In fact, their appetites are so incredible that the professor—after this scene that I will share with you—considered them more trolls than men.

Van, Jim, and Poke are out camping when they have breakfast.

“I don’t believe in making a pig of myself [how about a troll?] but…” And Jim took another large helping of cakes.

“Not to be outdone by my buddy, I’ll join you on the last lap,” and Van took the same number that Jim had taken: five large ones.

Now, this is incredible if you think about it. They each ate close to ten large pancakes. Incredible! If only it would have said something about trolls in that paragraph in the dust jacket. That would have been more interesting for sure.

Eventually, the three dull ones find a hidden entrance into Shadow Mountain which leads them into a cave where they find…Calamity Jane’s Bible, which is a wonder.

While they’re inside the cave, it collapses. But everything is okay. Once Poke holds a conversation with Toyoc, who’s waiting outside, they get saved.

Now the professor must share with you a wonder of a scene. This scene is so amazing, so incredible, so extraordinary, that’s it’s not believable.

Situation: A little girl has fallen into a lake, and Walter decides to help.

Without a moment’s hesitation Walter kicked off his oxfords, tore off his shirt and dived into the lake. About eight feet from the pier was the form of a little girl of four… …Despite the loss of his right hand and lower arm (it was amputated just below the elbow), Walter could swim well. Treading water, he manipulated the child’s limp body, so that her mouth and nose were clear of the surface. It was easy for him to tow her to the shore…

Incredible! The professor would give anything to see this scene played out. After all, there are so many questions. How could he swim fast with only one arm? How did he manipulate the child’s body so easily—and swim? What did he tow her to shore with? A stub? Clearly, this is an outstanding example of the impossible! But one thing bothers this professor. The professor was not aware that Superman had only one arm…

Well, that’s about it. There are some villains, but they’re hardly in it. They die in an auto crash at the end, so they’re really not worth mentioning. In fact, the book is hardly worth mentioning. It’s one of those novels you’d find in a corner of a…

But I repeat myself.


36 Responses to “Ripping Book Review—Mystery At Shadow Mountain”

  1. 1 krugthethinker September 5, 2013 at 06:39

    These always make me laugh so hard! Nothing at Shadow Mountain indeed! My mom once found an old noir/romance novel called Hotel Doctor, in which a dashing yound MD tends to the needs of rich ladies in a hotel…with some…unknown…consequences. It was pretty hilarious, and I didn’t even read it! Such is the effect of this review too. Thank you for taking the literary bullet for us! Also, all this talk of trolls makes me think of one of the worst movies ever made: Troll II! There is even a movie about how terrible this movie is. Methinks you might enjoy it!

    • 2 Professor VJ Duke September 5, 2013 at 12:17

      I think you’re right. The professor should look into it. Hotel Doctor sounds highly rippable, perhaps the professor should give it a go?

      The professor enjoys the picture: He is a literary bulletproof vest!

  2. 3 The Dancing Rider September 3, 2013 at 20:28

    Am unfamiliar with this book. And gladly so, dear Professor! :) Great rip job, especially the rescue. Yikes.

    • 4 Professor VJ Duke September 3, 2013 at 22:39

      :D Absolutely! Thank you, but he set himself up on that rescue!

  3. 5 L. Marie September 3, 2013 at 17:28

    I’m not familiar with this book. And judging by the comments, I guess my life isn’t a totally loss for having missed it.

    • 6 Professor VJ Duke September 3, 2013 at 18:05

      It certainly isn’t. And you don’t have anything to be ashamed about where reading is concerned! The professor aspires to your reading level. (PF member, FF, reads a lot too. And the professor is just blown away. I think I’m a notoriously slow reader!)

  4. 7 ladycheetah7 September 3, 2013 at 16:38

    So, Mr. Nubby sacrificially jumps into a lake and rescues a child. I wonder how long it took him to take off his shirt? Assuming it was a cloth lumberjack print with missing buttons and all. How noble. How honorable. How…..much a bunch of crap. Anyhoo, as always I thoroughly enjoy the rips. :-P

    • 8 Professor VJ Duke September 3, 2013 at 18:03

      :lol: I didn’t even think about the shirt, but you’re right! Wouldn’t you give anything to see that scene? Remarkable!

      • 9 ladycheetah7 September 3, 2013 at 18:13


      • 10 Professor VJ Duke September 3, 2013 at 18:25

        :D Agreed!

  5. 11 sonya solomonovich September 3, 2013 at 16:32

    Sounds like a delightful book! I mean that in the sense that it is so highly mockable and rippable.

    • 12 Professor VJ Duke September 3, 2013 at 18:02

      Yes, it is! But definitely not a book for a Swashbuckler. By the way, the professor must needs know your favorite book! Very curious. :)

      (Also, the professor didn’t forget about the duel. Thursday is the day!)

      • 13 sonya solomonovich September 3, 2013 at 19:39

        I’m looking forward to the duel! :D

        My favorite book.. that is a difficult question… The swashbuckler is changeable and fickle, but I think the top three books that constantly remain loved and re-read are Princess Bride by William Goldman, Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy, Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.

      • 14 Professor VJ Duke September 3, 2013 at 22:38


        :D I thought she could be, for the professor definitely is! You know, I must read the Princess Bride. Is it better than the movie? (I did enjoy the movie, too.)

      • 15 sonya solomonovich September 4, 2013 at 01:01

        I’d say it’s just as good as the movie, which is very awesome. The book has more of a frame story regarding the grandfather but otherwise it is much the same.
        What about the professor’s favorite book(s)? Perhaps some works by Mark Twain that have stood the test of time and fickleness?

      • 16 Professor VJ Duke September 4, 2013 at 16:35

        The professor just must read the book.

        Oh yes, definitely Twain. Innocents Abroad, and The Prince and the Pauper are probably at the top.

      • 17 sonya solomonovich September 5, 2013 at 01:37

        Yes, I think the professor will enjoy it!

        I haven’t read Innocents Abroad, but perhaps I should look into it. I did like the Prince and the Pauper very much. A bit of swashbuckling going on there!

      • 18 Professor VJ Duke September 5, 2013 at 12:14

        :D Absolutely, swashbuckling! Innocents is non-fiction and I like it because I like Twain’s satirical voice. You mayn’t like it for that very reason, though.

  6. 19 weggieboy September 3, 2013 at 13:47

    “There is really no mystery at Shadow Mountain. In fact, the title would be more appropriate if it was Nothing At Shadow Mountain, since there’s nothing; no suspense, mystery, or intrigue.”

    No doubt this explains the paucity of copies available!

    • 20 Professor VJ Duke September 3, 2013 at 15:12

      I love that word: paucity! And I think you’re absolutely right!

  7. 21 Susan P September 3, 2013 at 12:35

    That book needs to be on the shelf for Books Written With an Overt Message Because Children Are Incapable of Getting It On Their Own. Yes, that IS the shelf with a trap door that sits over an eternal flame. Bangit Professor. I’m going to spend the rest of the day trying to forget this one. :'(

    • 22 Professor VJ Duke September 3, 2013 at 15:12

      :lol: Me too! I like what you said, right on. So, are you familiar with the author?

      • 23 Susan P September 3, 2013 at 15:38

        I never heard of him before. I did do an extensive web check, and he appears to have mainly stuck with theological tomes in the 50’s, which are being reprinted. I have not read any of his non-fiction works. What do you know about him?

      • 24 Professor VJ Duke September 3, 2013 at 18:02

        Well, the professor enjoys his nonfiction works, and that’s how I found his fiction. But I don’t recommend it! It’s pure dadblamery!

      • 25 Susan P September 3, 2013 at 19:42

        Ah. I see. I spent four years in college perusing such things. Back in the day. But I never stumbled over this particular gentleman’s works. What draws you to his books (not the shadow one)?

      • 26 Professor VJ Duke September 3, 2013 at 22:38

        Actually, the professor is fascinated by Biblical prophecy! His non-fiction stuff is pretty good.

      • 27 Susan P September 4, 2013 at 23:48

        What do you find fascinating about his books on prophecy – just curious.

      • 28 Professor VJ Duke September 5, 2013 at 00:25

        That’s fine. The professor is usually quite curious himself.

        Well, simply the prophecy; how it was foretold and how it came to fruition. Hope that answers your question! :)

      • 29 Susan P September 5, 2013 at 00:44

        Prophecy past tense, then?

      • 30 Professor VJ Duke September 5, 2013 at 12:12

        Mostly, yes. But I do enjoy second coming prophecies as well. The professor just finds it really neat to look back and see its fulfillment.

  8. 31 Jackie September 3, 2013 at 12:14

    Sounds awful just like his other books!

    • 32 Professor VJ Duke September 3, 2013 at 15:10

      Ah, you know him?

      • 33 Jackie September 3, 2013 at 15:30

        Sort of. When you’re an atheist you tend to run into these types on the internet. Here is another one he wrote:

        If you search “Fred John Meldau” in Google books and Amazon you will see he is quite a prolific writer. The stuff he writes is unintentionally hilarious. :-D

      • 34 Professor VJ Duke September 3, 2013 at 18:00

        The professor is familiar with that one.

        I know. The professor doesn’t think he should have ventured into fiction! (I can’t even begin to describe the dialogue in that Shadow book! Ugh!) However, that being said, I do enjoy his nonfiction. ;)

      • 35 Jackie September 3, 2013 at 18:13

        I’ll pass on all of this author’s books. Anyway, your rip was an excellent one – I enjoyed it immensely. :-D

      • 36 Professor VJ Duke September 3, 2013 at 18:25

        Ah, thank you! But I fear that the professor is running out of books, dadblameit! If you ever have any suggestions…

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