Brains Benton and his pal Jimmy Carson were the stars of this short lived but well written series. Beginning with The Case of the Missing Message in 1959 and ending with The Case of the Painted Dragon in 1961, Brains and Jimmy entertained, amused, and even charmed their readers.
The initial book was written by Charles Spain Verral who created the characters. The final five titles were authored by George Wyatt. Hamilton Greene illustrated books 1, 2, & 6, Walter Dey book 3 and Al Schmidt books 4 & 5. Some of the artwork was quite striking, such as the dragon below.
The Brains Benton series came in at least four distinct hardcover formats. The original issue of the picture covers, was under the Golden Press label. The spines and endpapers had a diamond pattern and the size was 5 5/8 by 7 3/4. All the books were then re-released with the Whitman imprint. The Whitman versions had solid color spines and endpapers. These books came in the same size as the Golden Press format, but also were available in a smaller size that measured 5 1/8 by 7 3/4. At least one of the books was also printed in a dust-jacket edition. The Case of the Missing Message was released first with a DJ. This book was a size unto itself measuring 5 5/8 by 7 7/8.
Paperback editions also exist. Several readers have written to inform me of this. Charles Morgan was good enough to send me a couple of scans from his collection.
Since this page first appeared, I have learned that the first title also appeared in a Big Little Book type edition. Charles Scott owns three copies of this format and sent me the above scan.
While the books are fairly easy to find, the various formats make it somewhat of a challenge to put together a matching set. Further troubling the collector is the fact that these books were cheaply bound and thus very hard to locate in Fine or Near Fine condition.
Here is a list of titles. Click on the links for a view of each book.
#1. The Case of the Missing Message, 1959
#2. The Case of the Counterfeit Coin, 1960
#3. The Case of the Stolen Dummy, 1961
#4. The Case of the Roving Rolls, 1961
#5. The Case of the Waltzing Mouse, 1961
#6. The Case of the Painted Dragon, 1961
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