Friday, October 20, 2017

Dust jacket: "Tale of the Witch Doll"

This is one of those situations in which a crumbling dust jacket is, in my opinion, even more interesting (and slightly creepier, perhaps) than a pristine one...

  • Title: Tale of the Witch Doll
  • Series: Penny Parker Mystery Stories
  • Author: Mildred A. Wirt
  • Dust jacket illustrator: K.S. Woerner
  • Publisher: Cupples and Leon Company, New York
  • Year: 1939
  • Pages: 210
  • Format: Hardcover
  • First sentence: "Just one more dive," pleaded Penny, climbing nimbly up the rungs of the bright brass ladder.
  • Last sentence: "Oh, you mean that paragraph about the witch doll?" Penny asked airily. "Didn't I warn you it would finally make the front page?"
  • Random paragraph from middle: The girl found herself in a gloomy chamber which had been draped with black velvet. The windows were covered with the same heavy material, and even the ceiling was black, decorated with a sprinkling of misshapen silver stars.1
  • Rating on Goodreads: 3.63 stars (out of 5.0)
  • One Goodreads review: R.L.'s three-star review from 2013: "An interesting glimpse into life in the U.S. in the late 1930s. Aimed at young readers of that era — it's laughable to think of this book appealing to any of today's teens. The characters are so uncool."
  • Notes: Author Mildred Augustine Wirt Benson (1905-2002) was a journalist who is best known for writing most of the early Nancy Drew mysteries for the Stratemeyer Syndicate, under the famous pen name Carolyn Keene. Her books included #1 in the Nancy Drew series, The Secret of the Old Clock. According to her obituary, she was "sworn to secrecy" about being the author of those early Nancy Drew books and "did not reveal her true identity until a 1980 court case allowed her to do so. The revelation made her an instant celebrity." ... Tale of the Witch Doll was the first of 17 volumes in the Penny Parker Mystery Stories series, the only series Wirt wrote under her own name. Other spooky titles included The Vanishing Houseboat, The Clock Strikes Thirteen, Ghost Beyond the Gate, and Hoofbeats on the Turnpike. ... "I always thought Penny Parker was a better Nancy Drew than Nancy is," the author stated in a 1993 interview.

1. My college roommate, Lee, and I always joked about how we were going to cover our dorm-room ceiling with glow-in-the-dark stars. We never did. We also never climbed Mount Nittany in the middle of the night, like we said we were going to.

No comments:

Post a Comment