With keywords like this, how could I fail to find the book? But I did...

I think this was a Penguin/Puffin paperback book in the 1970s, or possibly even in the 1960s.

Fanch is about 10 years old, lives in the south of Brittany, and spends most of his time sailing his little dinghy around on the Morbihan inland sea, which has very strong tidal currents and takes real seamanship. I think he's an orphan. He gets involved with a gold statuette of Gilgamesh which has been stolen from a museum by art thieves.

  • I found a list on Goodreads of stories set in Brittany - I don't suppose any of them is the one you're seeking? Also, important question: what language was this book written in? English, French, other, translated?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Oct 27, 2018 at 21:12
  • I can't really answer your question, because it was 50-odd years ago and I was about 10 years old myself. All I can say is, the "Fanch" book is very good; I read it in English but it's possible it had been translated from French; and I just followed up your link to Goodreads (thank you), but none of them fit.
    – Nicholas
    Oct 28, 2018 at 18:37

1 Answer 1


The Secret of the Missing Boat by Paul Berna

The old fishermen in his part of Brittany used to call orphaned Fanch 'king of the Little Sea'. One day he salvaged a dinghy from the mud, and was amazed how many questions the police asked about it - until he discovered it wasn't the boat they were interested in, but vanished treasure.

The one review on Goodreads mentions stolen golden head of Gilgamesh.

  • Perfect, thank you: Paul Berna, "The Secret of the Missing Boat", 1969. I've just ordered a copy (And I'll look into merging those two accounts)
    – Nicholas
    Oct 28, 2018 at 21:15

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