The Ken Holt Series

The Ken Holt Series
by Bruce Campbell

The Ken Holt series is an eighteen volume series that was published by Grosset and Dunlap from 1949 through 1963.  The series was written by Sam and Beryl Epstein under the pseudonym of Bruce Campbell.

Boys' series enthusiasts consider the Ken Holt series to be one of the very best boys' series.  The books are praised for their logic and great attention to detail.

Ken Holt lives with the Allen family in Brentwood.  The Allen family helped Ken locate his father, Richard Holt, after he was kidnapped.  Ken and his best friend, Sandy Allen, find themselves involved in a new mystery in each book.

Titles in the Ken Holt Series:

  1. The Secret of Skeleton Island, 1949
  2. The Riddle of the Stone Elephant, 1949
  3. The Black Thumb Mystery, 1950
  4. The Clue of the Marked Claw, 1950
  5. The Clue of the Coiled Cobra, 1951
  6. The Secret of Hangman's Inn, 1951
  7. The Mystery of the Iron Box, 1952
  8. The Clue of the Phantom Car, 1953
  9. The Mystery of the Galloping Horse, 1954
10. The Mystery of the Green Flame, 1955
11. The Mystery of the Grinning Tiger, 1956
12. The Mystery of the Vanishing Magician, 1956
13. The Mystery of the Shattered Glass, 1958
14. The Mystery of the Invisible Enemy, 1959
15. The Mystery of Gallows Cliff, 1960
16. The Clue of the Silver Scorpion, 1961
17. The Mystery of the Plumed Serpent, 1962
18. The Mystery of the Sultan's Scimitar, 1963

These books read like a typical detective-mystery-adventure, and Ken and Sandy are frequently held hostage and threatened at gunpoint by criminals.  Their adventures are usually quite harrowing.

The first few Ken Holt books are not very hard to find, but acquiring a complete set of the books is rather difficult, since most titles are a bit difficult to find.  Volumes 1 through 17 were issued in hardcover with dust jacket.  Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 15 were later reprinted in picture cover.  Volume 18 was issued in picture cover only.

The series was also published in the United Kingdom by World Distributors in hardcover with dust jacket.  The books were published in a different order and used the same cover art as the Grosset and Dunlap books except for the addition of a yellow band at the top of the front panel.  The books were also published in the United Kingdom in a picture cover edition with different cover art by Redwing Library.

Summaries of #1-9
Summaries of #10-18
Cover Art Gallery
My Ken Holt Blog Posts

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