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Tale of the Witch Doll

Mildred A. Wirt (Benson)

"Penelope Parker--Penny--to all her friends, had that indefinable thing called personality. Her deep blue eyes, golden ringlets, clear skin, gave one an impression of beauty; and besides, she had sparkle and vivacity. Louise reflected that nearly all the world's prize packages had been dropped on Penny's casual shoulders."

Tale of the Witch Doll is the first of the Penny Parker Mystery Stories, written by Mildred A. Wirt and published in 1939 by Cupples & Leon Company, an early publisher of series fiction for boys and girls. Like Nancy Drew (many of whose books were written by Mildred A. Wirt under the pseudonym of Carolyn Keene), Penny Parker had a natural talent for stumbling into mysteries and a fearless determination to solve them. In this first adventure a break-in at her friend’s doll shop in their home town of Riverview starts the mystery, and it involves mediums and seances before it’s solved.

Mildred A. Wirt (Mildred Augustine Wirt Benson, 1905-2002) didn’t get to see her name on most of the scores of youth series books she wrote during her long life and career. The famous Stratemeyer Syndicate produced many of the popular youth series in the early twentieth century and insisted on pseudonyms for the authors of their books, enforced by strict legal contracts of secrecy with their faceless authors. However, Benson is now established as the author of 23 of the first 30 Nancy Drew mysteries and was largely responsible for developing Nancy’s persona, one of a confident, independent, fearless girl, a personality that was also typical of her other series characters. She wrote all or some of the following series: Nancy Drew, Kay Tracey, Penny Parker, Dana Girls, Penny Nichols, Ruth Darrow, Madge Sterling, Ruth Fielding, and Dan Carter, among others, including non-series titles. Like her characters, Mildred was an adventurer, making trips to Central America, traversing the jungle in a Jeep, canoeing down rivers, visiting Mayan sites, flying airplanes and witnessing archaeological excavations.

Book publisher: New York: Cupples and Leon Company
Book copyright: 1939
Book edition: First Edition, first or early printing, 1939
Pages: 210
Size: 5-1/4″ x 7-7/8″
Dust jacket: No
Illustrations: frontispiece
Back matter: book list
Digital edition © 2009, 2021 Curtis Philips. All Rights Reserved.

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