This is another of the books I inherited from my cousins, and it was a huge favorite of mine. I read it many times, and it was a nostalgic thrill to return to it once again. Each illustration brought with it a fine shock of recognition, and though I didn't remember much about the story, I did remember a good deal about the Blue Streak himself. He's a semi-Super Hero. He's lots stronger than an ordinary man, more agile, faster, with better eyesight. He can jump at least 18 feet straight up, as he proves at one point in the story. And he dresses funny. But he's not invulnerable. He wears a bulletproof vest.
Dr. Medusa is the mad scientist in a role just perfect for Lionel Atwill in a Republic serial. ("I am mad but I have the most brilliant mind in the whole world.") He has a plot worthy of a Republic villain, too. For unspecified reasons, he kills people and creates statues from their bodies, using a process of calcification. He's also accumulating huge sums of money from his victims, which, for other unspecified reasons, he uses to ceate a large underground kingdom, where he and his henchpersons will live as soon as it's finished. Only one person can stop him, and we all know who that is.
One of Medusa's intended victims is Bess Marigold. Her uncle hires the Blue Streak to protect her, but she's a spirited young woman and doesn't want to be protected. This leads to complications involving large caverns, underground rivers, whirlpools, encounters with Medusa's goons, murders, and even a bit of light romance.
All of this thrilled me when I was a kid, and I didn't notice the writing style, which is of the Hardy Boys school, or the problems with the story. I just enjoyed the adventures.
Now I wonder about the Blue Streak. Unlike a lot of Whitman books, this one doesn't seem based on a comic book, radio, or movie character. It's really a great deal like a Republic serial, but I don't know of one based on this character. It's also obviously set up for a sequel, though if there is one, I don't know of it. I don't know who Art Elder is, either, but I owe him big-time for the pleasure he brought me so many years ago. And now, too, for that matter.