The Wilderness Mystery Series

The Wilderness Mystery Series
by Troy Nesbit (Franklin Folsom)

Franklin Folsom was a prolific author who wrote dozens of books during his career, most of them nonfiction books dealing with historical events.  Folsom wrote a set of six children's books for the Whitman Publishing Company using the pen name Troy Nesbit.  The set of books was marketed as the Troy Nesbit Mystery series.  Folsom also wrote Fury and the Mystery at Trappers' Hole and Wagon Train for Whitman.

Harvey House reprinted the six Troy Nesbit Mystery books in the early 1960s as the Wilderness Mystery series.  The Harvey House books reproduce the page layout of the Whitman books, so the pages in the Whitman and Harvey House editions match up exactly with the same text on corresponding pages.  The Harvey House books were slightly revised, and the revisions can be easily spotted since the text is lighter, not matching the rest of the text.

Titles in the Troy Nesbit Whitman Set:

  1. Sand Dune Pony, 1952
  2. The Jinx of Payrock Canyon, 1954
  3. The Indian Mummy Mystery, 1953
  4. The Mystery at Rustlers' Fort, 1957
  5. The Diamond Cave Mystery, 1956
  6. The Forest Fire Mystery, 1962

Titles in the Harvey House Set:

  1. Sand Dune Pony Mystery, 1960
  2. Mystery at Payrock Canyon, 1962
  3. Indian Mummy Mystery, 1962
  4. Mystery at Rustlers' Fort, 1960
  5. Diamond Cave Mystery, 1962
  6. The Forest Fire Mystery, 1963
  7. The Hidden Ruin, 1966

Other Children's Books by Franklin Folsom:

  Search in the Desert, 1955
  Fury and the Mystery at Trappers' Hole, 1959
  Wagon Train,1959

Unfortunately, Harvey House did not use Whitman's original illustrations, instead opting for new illustrations that were vastly inferior.  Most of the Harvey House books have excellent quality paper that has not yellowed.

The Harvey House books credit the author as Franklin Folsom.  Each book has a notice on the copyright page stating that the book was previously published in a popular edition by Troy Nesbit.

Harvey House also included another Folsom book, The Hidden Ruin, in the set. 

In 2013, the original six Troy Nesbit Mystery books were reprinted by Taylor Trade Publishing.  These books once again credit the author as Troy Nesbit but refer to the set as the Wilderness Mystery series.  The books are copyright 2013 by The Folsom Family Trust.

The Taylor Trade books are faithful reproductions of the insides of the Whitman books, including the excellent original Whitman illustrations.  The books have good quality paper, so readers turned off by books with yellowed paper can opt for new books on white paper.

Folsom also wrote another book, Search in the Desert, that meshes well with the Wilderness Mystery series.  Search in the Desert was published by Funk & Wagnalls in 1955.

Cover Art Gallery


My Troy Nesbit Blog Posts


The books are set in Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico.  Each book features different characters.  Even though the characters are different in each book, the setting and relationships are so similar that the books have the feel of a series featuring the same characters.  The books fit together cohesively just like a traditional series.

The books include topics such as cave exploration, the discovery of Indian artifacts, exploration of the wilderness, and the search for poachers.  The importance of not disturbing Indian artifacts is stressed.  The books are full of information about the western way of life and also feature progressive views about minorities and women that are not often seen in vintage series books.


All titles in the Whitman set are very easy to find, although some cover art variants are more scarce.

The Harvey House editions were primarily sold to libraries, so most surviving copies are library discards.  The library discards are uncommon in excellent condition.  Books in excellent edition with no library markings are extremely difficult to find.

The Hidden Ruin and Search in the Desert are both difficult to find, since they have not been reprinted in recent years.

The Taylor Trade Publishing softcover books are readily available and easy to find in both new and used condition.  The Taylor Trade books are also available in digital editions.

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