Okay, this has nagged me for years. I read a children's book circa 1970, set in the western US in early-mid-20th century. Horses and trucks both. A mystery. Protagonists two boys and one girl. There is a lost treasure (a mine?) in a hidden valley somewhere in a small mountain range. One character takes a job as a helper to a peddler (a handyman?) who drives a van throughout the region. Eventually the main characters discover that the hidden valley can only be found by swimming underwater (through a pool or stream?).

Probably not a classic, but I'd love to re-read, enjoy and exorcise!

  • This doesn't fit enough of the clues to be likely, unfortunately, but a couple things about this are reminding me of Over Sea Under Stone by Susan Cooper! Unlikely though unless some details are misremembered.
    – Kitkat
    Feb 27 '20 at 22:11

It sounds like the Three Investigators series. And you may be conflating two or more books. list of books

The books had various geographical settings. THe detectives did a lot of traveling. There was definitely at least one with a Western setting. It's a long time since I read them. Memory is hazy. I think the Western setting is probably The Mystery of Death Trap Mine. There was a different book where they discovered a cave that could only be reached by swimming through an underwater tunnel. I think that was probably The Secret of Skeleton Island.

  • 1
    OP would be misremembering a lot if it's this. "Protagonists two boys and one girl", and the lost treasure in a mine sounds like Green Ghost which is very different from Skeleton Island in the Three Investigators series.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Aug 18 '20 at 14:23

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