The Golden Summer by Daniel Nathan (1953)
"Daniel Nathan" is, of course, Frederic Dannay -- the half of Ellery Queen usually credited with plotting the mysteries. Frederic Dannay was born in New York City but his family moved to Elmira, New York, shortly thereafter and Dannay was raised there until he was eleven. (His best friend in Elmira was a boy named Ellery.) The Golden Summer is an autobiographical novel about a few magical months in Danny Nathan's childhood.
It's a remarkably evocative novel. The outside world and its problems are outside the ken of small boy. The warm sun, the green grass, a new Tarzan novel, a best friend...these are what are usually in the forefront of Danny's mind. But there are also the myriad fears and anxieties that many of us gloss over when we remember our childhood. The sun and the grass and Tarzan and a friend usually win out at the end of the day.
This is a wonderful Bradbury-esque book. The reason it is a Forgotten Book is that it bombed. There was, I believe, only one printing and no paperback edition. In an effort to spur sales, Dannay reprinted three episodes from the book in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, each with a glowing introduction from a well-known author, but few readers bought the book, which was marketed with no indication that "Daniel Nathan" was a pseudonym. A shame.
There are just three copies available on Abebooks, ranging from $65 to $150. You're best bet would be to get the book through an Interlibrary Loan. It's worth it.
This week's Forgotten Books are being curated by Evan Lewis at Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and the Wild West. Check it out.