(M.J.E. / Book Listings / Children's Fiction / Lyle)
Possibly complete listing
Mel Lyle: U.S.A., ? - ? [a]
Power Boys series[b] [c] - all illustrated by Raymond Burns See review and Power Boys links
The Mystery of the Haunted Skyscraper 1964
The Mystery of the Flying Skeleton 1964
The Mystery of the Burning Ocean 1965
The Mystery of the Million-Dollar Penny 1965
The Mystery of the Double Kidnapping 1966
The Mystery of the Vanishing Lady 1967
There is very little information on Mel Lyle or the Power Boys books on the
Internet. If you enter "Mel Lyle" or "Power Boys" in a search engine, you
will very likely turn up a number of book stores offering them for sale: a
useful resource if you are looking for copies to buy - but be prepared to pay
reasonably high prices for them. See note [c] for a rather
odd by-way on this.
[a] Mel Lyle: I have no information whatever about this author, and even his
nationality is only my surmise. (It's reasonable to surmise that the author of
a series of adventure books set in America and published by an American
publisher is himself American - but I don't know this for an ironclad fact.
After all, I have two old books by T. C. Bridges, set in Florida, which almost
seem like quintessential Florida adventures - but their author was in fact born
I wouldn't say Mel Lyle was ever well-known for his Power Boys series, but
there was a time in the 1960s when they could be quite commonly seen in
book-shops, even here in Australia. Now they are long out of print, and only
rarely turn up in used book-shops.
I cannot in fact be totally sure the above listing is complete, but I
believe it is. At any rate, it appears certain there are no more Power Boys
books than the six ones listed above, and I have never seen any other books by
this author either, and neither have I ever come across any references to
other titles anywhere.
If anyone knows of any further titles by Mel Lyle, or of any more
material on the Internet about the ones listed above, I would appreciate them
contacting me at
m j e (no dots or spaces) at remove-spam-block foxall dot com dot au. (Please remove the
spam block from the "To:" line.)
[Back to top of listing]
[b] Power Boys series: The books are not numbered, but I can be confident
that their order is as given above because in listings of the titles inside the
covers or on the back covers of various books (both Power Boys books and
others which advertise them) they are always listed in the same order.
Moreover, although the years of publication leave room for some ambiguity
because some years saw the publication of two titles, the years of publication
do agree with the order given above.
Throughout the series, the two Power boys are always aged 17 and 15, and
this possibly causes problems with the internal chronology of the series,
especially if you insist that the stories take place in the order in which they
appear in the series, as listed above. See my review
of the Power Boys series for more discussion about this.
[Back to top of listing]
[c] Power Boys series: You may possibly come across some "Power Boys"
books from the 1950s by Arthur Benwood, as I did on eBay recently (as of
November, 2001). This was a book called Mystery of the Marlow Mansion,
from 1955, which I nearly bought, thinking it was possible that it may be
related to the series covered on this page; perhaps (it seemed possible to me)
Mel Lyle might have written his stories around the same characters in the
earlier books, and not created them himself.
I wrote to the seller, and asked him about the book he was selling. I was
told that the book he was selling was about Ted and Steve Power, who work as cub
reporters for their father's newspaper, The Homesdale News. It would
appear to be nothing more than a coincidence that, a decade later, Mel Lyle
wrote a series of books about two brothers also called "Power". I might have
bought it anyway, since it would have cost me only a dollar or two; but I felt
less interested, knowing that it was not related to the series which interests
me more, and it hardly seemed worth the logistics you have to go through to
purchase books from half-way around the world, involving currency conversions.
My curiosity piqued, I did a little research on the Internet, and found a
web page titled
"University of South Florida - Tampa Library - Special
Collections & USF Libraries Digital Collections", which confirms what I've just
said. This page mainly deals with the Lyle series covered primarily by my own
page; but the information given includes only a listing of the titles and their
dates, plus a physical description of the books.
The mention of Benwood's book is only brief, and is only intended as a
caution against confusing it with the books by Lyle. (This is my main reason
also for mentioning the series by Benwood/Gelman.) The University of South
Florida, Tampa Library page also tells us that the author's real name was Woody
Gelman, but no further details are given. The auction advertisement for the
copy I nearly bought described it as a 64-page Triple Nickel paperback
published by Solomon and Gelmen[sic], Inc., so it would seem that the author was
in a high position with the publisher who issued the book.
I cannot find out anything more about Benwood's (Gelman's) series, and the
title named above is the only title I can find.
Addendum: Thursday, 13 March, 2003:
Recently I wrote to the University of South Florida about the information
given on the page mentioned above, and Paul Camp, from the Special Collections
in the University of South Florida Library in Tampa was kind enough to write
back to me with some further information, for which I thank him. He couldn't
tell me anything more about Mel Lyle or his series, but he gave me some
information about Woody Gelman's career, mentioned that he died in 1978, and
gave me a list of seven further titles by Woody Gelman, written under his own
name, and mentioned an additional title written under the Arthur Benwood name.
This one is The Secret of the Crazy Cavern, from Triple Nickel Books in 1955,
and it sounds likely this is another book in this author's Power Boys series,
although I don't know that for certain.
It would be going a little too far from the focus of this Mel Lyle page to
list the other 7 titles written by Gelman; but if any readers would like that
listing, I am happy to send it to them by e-mail upon request. (I can be
reached at m j e (no dots or spaces) at remove-spam-block foxall dot com dot au.
(Please remove the
spam block from the "To:" line.)
Paul Camp also mentioned a strange link that may exist between Lyle's and
Gelman's Power Boys series: Mel Lyle, author of the later Power Boys series,
shares his first name with Mel Poritz, who collaborated with Gelman on the
"Sam, the Ceiling Needs Painting" series of books. Paul suggested it could be a
mere coincidence, or it could possibly signify that Gelman was connected in some
way to Mel Lyle and his Power Boys books. It strikes me personally as most
likely a coincidence - but I have heard of authors deliberately working into
their own writing connections as obscure as this between their own work and that
of another author - so this possible connection can't be completely dismissed.
If any readers of this page know more about this, I would be interested to hear
from them. [Back to top of listing]
Introduction - Front page, which leads to Contents
Web Site of Michael Edwards - Contents
Mel Lyle (this page)
This page created on Sunday, 5 November, 2000;
last modified on Thursday, 13 March, 2003.