(M.J.E. / Book Listings / Children's Fiction / Lyle)


Possibly complete listing

Mel Lyle: U.S.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

Further links

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 in France.)
      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]

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This page created on Sunday, 5 November, 2000;
last modified on Thursday, 13 March, 2003.