Archive for the ‘stratemeyer’ Category

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Ruth Fielding Down East

December 10, 2016

It’s been a while since I read a Ruth Fielding book. PG has added a bunch of them over the last few years, and now seemed like a good time to catch up. Yes, I ought to be reading Christmas stories instead, but when the universe tells me to read Ruth Fielding, I read Ruth Fielding.

Ruth Fielding Down East is the first post-WWI one, sort of. The war is still happening, but Ruth and Helen and Tom are back in the US. Tom will go back overseas again for a bit, but the girls won’t, and it’s time for Ruth to transition back into the world of moving pictures.

I’d forgotten how bad W. Bert Foster’s writing can be (this is one of his last few installments in the series) and it’s bad here, but the worst thing about this book is the plot, and that’s presumably Edward Stratemeyer’s fault.

Ruth is supposed to be smart, is the thing. But when her top secret screenplay is stolen, she continues to keep it top secret, even though she suspects the thief will try to sell it to a producer. The rational thing to do would be to get some description of the scenario on record, so that if it shows up she has some proof that it’s hers. Of course, if she did that there would be considerably less drama when the scenario does resurface.

Character-driven plots are nice. Plot-driven characters, less so, especially when the character in question has been pretty well established through fifteen books. There’s no reason for Ruth to act like this, other than to make the plot work.

So, yeah, I found that infuriating. But somehow, Foster won me over. I think it’s the bit where Ruth stays level-headed during an emergency, saving her friends and getting back her self-confidence. Or the way everything gets wrapped up exactly the way you think it will, and it’s so ridiculous that it’s sort of nice.Or that the random bit about someone lost in the woods turns out to be thematically relevant. Or that Foster is going for something as complex as a theme at all. Mostly I think that Ruth Fielding, as a character, shines through the worst things her writers can do to her. She remains my favorite Stratemeyer product.

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The Dana Girls #9: The Mystery at the Gatehouse

June 25, 2007

In The Mystery at the Gatehouse, Louise and Jean help investigate the disappearance of Mr. Warrington, a wealthy businessman who lives near Starhurst and is being investigated by the government for reasons that are never fully explained.

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The Dana Girls #3: In the Shadow of the Tower

June 25, 2007

We next meet Jean and Louise Dana two books later, in In the Shadow of the Tower, an evocative title that has very little to do with the story.
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The Dana Girls #1: By the Light of the Study Lamp

June 25, 2007

So, The Dana Girls books are nothing special, really, but they are kind of interesting. Apparently they were meant to be a sort of cross between Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.

On the Hardy Boys side:

They’re siblings, and one has dark hair and the other has light hair.

On the Nancy Drew side:

They’re girls

Hmmm. That seems to be about it. The fact that they’re amateur detectives could count towards either side, and the fact that they’re in school and actually, you know, go to class sometimes couldn’t count towards either.
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New acquisitions.

June 20, 2007

The camp where my brother works has a lot of old children’s books. My brother told me about it a while back, but I didn’t see it until yesterday, when my parents and I drove him up to Maine. Most of the books are in terrible condition, but there’s some really excellent stuff. The camp director let me pick out some to take, and I am going to replace them with newer books.

I got an Alger I didn’t have — Frank Hunter’s Peril — Three Dana Girls mysteries (that’s a Stratemeyer series that began in the mid thirties), and Slippy McGee, by Marie Conway Oemler. I was so excited when I saw the latter that I think I squeaked.

I have a copy of Slippy McGee! I can’t wait to reread it.

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Tom Swift in the City of Gold

June 18, 2007


I thought that it would be pretty difficult not to like a book containing a chapter called “Beware The Head-Hunters!” But then, I didn’t expect a Tom Swift book to make blatantly untrue statements about anything but science.

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Nelson the Newsboy: Ads

June 18, 2007

Nelson the Newsboy has a pretty nice selection of ads in the back. I transcribed a bunch of them because…well, I don’t know why. But I did.

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