Taya Bayliss - Treasure Hunter

Children's Books, Middle Grade

By Erica Gore

Publisher : E. J. Gore

ABOUT Erica Gore

Erica Gore
I am a retired primary school teacher who writes mystery adventures for young readers.  My stories are aimed at the children trying to make the transition from picture books to novels.  They are about real kids with no special powers who have to use their wits to cope with the situations More...


Eleven year old Taya Bayliss is not happy that her family has moved from the city to Bascombe’s Bay, a tiny fishing village.   She has only been in her new home for a few hours when she finds herself mixed up in a fifty year old mystery. 

She meets Mae Evans, an elderly lady, who because of a long ago love seems to hold the key to the treasure. But is there really a treasure or is it all just imagination?

Two local boys certainly think there is a hidden fortune and spend their time stalking Mae in an effort to get her to lead them to it.  They soon turn their attentions to Taya as well making life more difficult for her.

Taya is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery and to help Mae out of her difficulties but the clues don’t seem to add up.

Finally on a night when Taya breaks her parents’ rules and puts herself and Mae in danger, she is able to make the connections and solve the mystery.

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When travelling many years ago, I got a job as a nanny in a tiny fishing village working with two young girls. The village with its headland and old light tower fired my imagination. I have been creating stories for my classes about this place for the last 30 years. This one is the first in a series of Taya Bayliss stories.

Taya Bayliss - Treasure Hunter (Paperback) It is not difficult to see that Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys had some influence over the writings of retired teacher, Erica Gore, but she has managed to bring us what we love about those stories into a new setting (Australian) with new and interesting characters.

There's plenty in this story for middle-grade readers: 11-year-old Taya Bayliss is uprooted from her home and friends to move to a tiny fishing village in South Australia; she abandons house rules to follow leads, which then puts her and others in danger; two local boys make the path difficult for the protagonist; and the mysterious old woman who appears to know the details of the missing treasure.

It's a well-constructed plot, and the author also challenges readers to find something unusual or off-point in the story adding another layer of mystery on top of those the story holds for adventurous, curious pre-teens.

*****  Melanie Walsh  Association of Independent Writers