The Treasure of Alpheus Winterborn
Did Alpheus Winterborn, the eccentric town millionaire, really hide a treasure in the Hoosac Public Library before he died? Or was he just playing another of his famous practical jokes? Anthony Monday is sure there must be a treasure, and if he can somehow find it, his parents will never have to worry about money again. But the clues that the old man left are strange and mysterious. Anthony is led from one hair-raising experience to another, until he wonders if he'll survive the search. Meanwhile, the late millionaire's evil nephew, Hugo Philpotts, is playing it smart -- and safe. He's letting Anthony do the terrifying job of finding the treasure -- then he'll simply snatch it away.
About the Book
This is the first book in the Anthony Monday series, introducing Anthony and Miss Eells.
This is Bellairs' only young-adult book not to feature any supernatural items.
Unlike Bellairs' other young-adult novels, this one was published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, as opposed to Dial. The dust jacket makes mention of Bellairs "startling a national television audience" by quoting Middle English, referring to Bellairs' 1959 participation on the College Bowl program.
While Edward Gorey did not illustrate the 1978 hardcover edition, he did create artwork for the 1980 Bantam paperback edition, possibly in an effort to give all Bantam paperbacks a uniform look and style. The preview found on the first page of this paperback edition incorrectly reads: "Johnny read the strange message he discovered, written by the late Alpheus Winterborn...."
Early Bantam paperback editions, as well as the 1982 edition published by Hutchinson in the United Kingdom, featured inverted illustrations (that is, black and white reversed).
Features some of the few instances where characters in Bellairs' fiction swear: in this case, both Anthony  and Miss Eells .
Librarian Elvira Platt goes from being identified as “Mrs. Pratt”  to “Miss Pratt” .
How he managed to get down to Front Street, Anthony never remembered. It was as if the whole thing were happening in a dream, as if some force outside himself were moving him around from place to place. All he knew was that sometime after he got dressed and slipped out of the house, he was on Front Street and crouching behind a bush in the side yard of the old Winterborn place, shicering with the cold. And he was mad at himself because he hadn't brought any tools with him. His heart was beating fast, and his body felt prickly all over. His blood was pounding in his ears. He felt very strange, but he was there, he was the house. That was all that mattered. As for the tools, men had been working in the house, and they had probably left some lying around. If not, he would dig the treasure out of that wall with his nails if he had to.
Anthony crouched there, staring at the cellar door. He could see it clearly by the light of the street lamp. Behind him was the house of old Eagle Eye. It was completely dark. Anthony felt his body grow tense. He clenched his fists. He stood up and started walking across the frozen grass toward the house. He walked with swift, resolute strides. He was almost there . . .
And then something happened.
Anthony heard a loud barking sound. A growling dog was rushing at him. It had leaped out of the doghouse that stood near the back porch -- the doghouse that was supposed to be empty now! Anthony screamed, "No, no! Help!" Then he turned and ran, hell for leather, across the backyard of the Winterborn house and across Mrs. Speece's backyard. Suddenly, as he was about to cross the sidewalk that ran from Mrs. Speece's back door to her garage, his feet flew out from under him. He felt as if someone had grabbed him by the ankles and flipped his legs upward.