The archives from the old Stump the Bookseller are still available on our website  There are still some unsolved queries, so feel free to peruse and email us at [email protected] with any suggested solutions.

The History

The history of this page is a funny and accidental thing.  As a bookseller, I often receive requests for long-lost childhood memories of books, and when I started this website back in 1995, I started receiving some cloudy email requests as well.  I didn’t think much of it, but one which I “solved” caused me such amusement that I saved the message and later created the I Remember That Book! page.

I added other requests and quotes to that page, but I noticed two distinct kinds of requests: those for titles remembered, and those for which only a murky plot was remembered.  The bookselling detective work for these requests is different, so I started the Stump the Bookseller page.

The Fame

Thanks to National Public Radio, our five minutes of fame was broadcast on January 25, 2003.  Traffic on the site quadrupled in the weeks to follow.  Thank you, Andy Bowers and the NPR team for the attention.

New Format

Our old manual methods of posting book stumpers grew wearisome, and the size of the site posed difficulties with certain web browsers.  In February 2013, we opened a new blog format for the forum which makes commenting easier and faster, and which has a pretty awesome search capability.  We still use a variation of keycodes for super-quick searching, and for easy identification of queries.  There’s no longer a need for archiving, but you can focus your search by choosing Solved or Unsolved in the Categories column.


31 thoughts on “Archives

  1. Rhilael

    The link to archives from the old Stump the Bookseller ( leads to an error message.

  2. Chris Johnson

    The link for the Archives still only leads to the more recent queries, post-February 2013. How do I find the older ones?

    1. Lorraine Angus

      You can browse backwards into the archives by using the “older posts” button, you can the select the year and month using the drop-down box located on the right side of the screen or you can use the search box to search keywords.

  3. Amanda

    I think people are trying to find the old archives, from before the move to this new blog format, so they can see what is still unsolved from the previous incarnation of this site, or access old solutions there that might help with newer queries. The archives available through the drop down you mention are for the new-format queries only. The old site no longer appears to be available at the link provided above–it redirects to this current site instead.

  4. Lorraine Angus

    Regarding M42: Moose, can control the flow of time

    (Letter from a fan in Westchester, NY)
    “I had been looking for this book since 1975 without knowing the title or author. Finally found it online. The guy who posted on your site nailed it from his memories, that is an accurate description. It is not a Mrs. Pickeral book, though, it’s the one reviewed by Kirkus below:”

    The Mystery of The Lost Moon by Michael Chester, Illustrated by Charles Geer

    Cathy and Bob Alban are very much like 20th century children except for the fact that they own a real live robot, ride in graviton cars and get a chance to participate in a galactic game with a strange antlered creature from ‘way out’ known as Old Pumm. The object of the game is to recover a lost satellite on which Old Pumm will retire from his hectic orbiting. In their search, they meet an odd assortment of people, reach the moon, a blob of gibbous by accidentally breaking a space egg, explore a space lab and finally realize that the Earth of Old Pumm’s lost satellite. there is little sense, rhyme or reason to this, but there is some humor in the crazy mixed-up imagery. A weak plot makes this a poor introduction to the world of science fiction, but members of the inner cult may find it amusing if only at intervals. 1960.

  5. Lorraine Angus

    RE: S673 Skeleton Kids 1890 Mystery
    OP here, still trying to find this book! The last suggestion also wasn’t it. 🙁 I also think I remember a cookie recipe, where the family threw everything into the batter as experiments, with pickles being especially disastrous. However, this particular memory *might* be of a different book.

  6. Lorraine Angus

    E-mail from a fan:

    B573: Black boy wants guitar or banjo

    I think this might well be Jasper Makes Music, by Betty Horvath, Watts, 1967

    The story of Jasper, a black boy longing for a guitar he isn’t able to convince his parents he really needs. His grandpa gives him a ‘magic shovel’, which Jasper uses to earn money for the guitar by doing odd jobs.



  7. Lorraine Angus

    Regarding S375:

    I just finished reading a book called “Margy” by Margaret Smith. It is set in Canada. A young girl is sent to live with her maiden aunts because she can’t get along with her new stepmother.

  8. Lorraine Angus

    Solution to T543, from a fan:

    Hi! I happen to know what book is being sought in “T543 – Turnstile in Swamp, Flying Snake, Wizard who disintegrates people.”

    The book is “The Dark Green Tunnel” by Allan W. Eckert.

  9. Lorraine Angus

    Solution to B617:

    I believe the Stump the Bookseller at B617 may be looking for No More Magic by Avi. The boy finds his missing bike in a body of water and he has a friend named Muffin.

  10. Lorraine Angus

    U51 Solution:

    Hoover, H.M. This Time of Darkness. The characters are in an underground city and have to climb levels to get to the outside. The protagonist can read (illegally) so she can read which levels to go to. Amy and Axel are the character names.

  11. Julie Beckers

    Solution sent in for R214:

    I believe this book is The Astonishing Stereoscope by Jane Langton (1971). This is a sequel to her book The Diamond in the Window. Edward and Eleanor Hall and their cousin, Georgie, find themselves traveling into stereoscope pictures, and to send themselves back to the real world, they pull a bell tassel. In the last picture, the tassel is broken, but they reach for the nose of Ralph Waldo Emerson that is a bust to send themselves home.

    I hope this helps!

  12. Julie Beckers

    T453: Teenage boys switch bodies before school one day
    A lazy, unpopular boy awakes one morning to discover he is now in the body of the popular athletic boy he always envied. But he’s still a loser, and he remains unliked even in his new, popular body. He even loses the big track race, as his toxic attitude has a physical effect on his athletic prowess.

    I wanted to add some more details to this. It could have been a short story, part of a larger collection. The day before the boys switch bodies, there is actually a news story announcing that strange events may be taking place over the next 24 hours and not to be alarmed. The two boys are not the only ones who switch bodies the next day and there’s a certain amount of chaos at school sorting out who’s who. When the unpopular boy wakes up in the popular boy’s body, he’s actually in the popular boy’s house. He’s very excited at first…the house is clean and they have nicer things than his family. He’s served a healthy breakfast, though, which he doesn’t like (he wants his sugar cereal). The popular boy’s mother instantly recognizes that her wonderful son is not who he appears to be and, because of the news, figures out that another boy is in his body. She actually knows who the other boy is and is kind of disgusted that this dumb slob is in her house, in her son’s body. The boy doesn’t care. He sees this as a golden opportunity to be popular and athletic for a day. But nothing works out like he hopes it will. At the end of the day, he expects to win the big track meet with his superbly conditioned body. But his crappy attitude and sloth lifestyle actually causes him to lose the big race, i.e. his mental state actually affects his physical ability. The moral of the story is essentially that you have to work hard to be a good/successful person. That even if you’re given good looks and money and strength, it won’t do you any good if your attitude stinks. Am pretty sure this was written in the 70’s…possibly in the very late 60’s or the very early 80’s.

    Wishing Day, 1970, approximate. This sounds more and more like the short story “Wishing Day”, written by a subscriber to American Girl Magazine in 1969 or ’70. Although that was about girls, and the premise was a bit different. I’m going to submit my own query about this story, so stay tuned.

  13. Jennifer Militzer-Kopperl

    Here is the solution for Post F190 from 2005. The short story is “A Spell for Jonathan” by Thomas Monteleone. It appears in Horror Tales: Spirits, Spells, and the Unknown edited
    >by Roger Elwood (1974 Rand McNally & Company).

  14. Julie Beckers

    A fan has a solution to S104: Scottish mystery Scottish castle, young teens, mistry moors, and a ghost (which I believe turned out to be fake.) 1960s . . .

    I believe the book this might refer to could be The Ghost of Ramshaw Castle by Robert Sutherland. It was published in 1989 but I believe is set earlier but maybe in the 1960s.  

  15. Julie Beckers

    I’d like to send in a solution for Stump the Bookseller G426. The book/record is called “No More Boredom”, and it’s by Joy Berry (née Joy Wilt, or Joy Wilt Berry).
    oy Wilt – No More Boredom

    This page has short samples of the songs, and also scans of some of the pages. One of them is part of the story the sender remembers:



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