I bought this in the Summer of '77. Never read past the first chapter, after the shipwreck and the guy who's walking his dog finds the dead captain on the beach under a plank of wood or a board or something like that. I tried to force myself to, but after that it just didn't hold my interest; but then I guess not many 9-year-olds could've made it past that first chapter, it seemed to really drag after that. The cover said it was "terrifying", but I wouldn't say so. On a side-note, I have to say that Mr. Benchley sure seemed to have a "thing" for leggy chicks on the cover of his books..