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Penny Parker Cover Art Penny Parker is the heroine of a series of 17 books by Mildred A. Wirt (Mildred Wirt Benson) and published by Cupples & Leon from 1939 through 1947. Penny is a high school student turned sleuth who also sporadically works as a reporter for her father's newspaper, ''The Riverview Star''. Her mother had died some years before, so she was raised by the Parker housekeeper, Mrs. Weems. On her cases she is sometimes aided by her close friend, brunette Louise Sidell and occasionally Jerry Livingston or Salt Sommers who were, respectively, a reporter and photographer for her father's paper.
Benson, who was a newspaper reporter herself, favored Penny Parker over all the other books she wrote, including Nancy Drew. Her obituary quoted her as saying, "I always thought Penny Parker was a better Nancy Drew than Nancy is."
There are extant notes for an 18th book, which was never completed.
The first four books were lightly revised and reprinted in 1958; the project went no further.
In 2011 the entire series was released in paperback editions.
Amazon.com has released the entire series for their Kindle reader.
Project Gutenberg has several of the stories available.

Who's Who

Penny Parker: A high-school student with a skill at reporting and getting involved in mystery. Her impulsiveness can get her into hot water. She is the daughter of Anthony Parker and was first introduced in ''Tale of the Witch Doll'' and appeared in all seventeen books.

Anthony Parker: Penny's widowed father and the owner of ''The Riverview Star''. He gives her much freedom but rather disapproves of her sleuthing. First introduced in ''Tale of the Witch Doll'', he appeared in every book.

Mrs. Maude Weems: The Parker family housekeeper; since the death of Mrs. Parker, she has cared for Penny as her own. Like Penny's father, she disapproves of the girl's sleuthing. Mrs. Weems made her first appearance in ''Tale of the Witch Doll'' and showed up in fifteen other books.

Louise Sidell: Penny's "closest friend", Louise is more cautious and less athletic than her chum. She is portrayed as being a bit clumsy. Though often reluctant to join Penny, she almost always gives in. She enjoys teasing Penny about Jerry Livingston. Louise debuted in ''Tale of the Witch Doll'' and made appearances in sixteen books overall.

Jerry Livingston: A "crack reporter" on ''The Riverview Star'', Jerry serves as a love interest for Penny. Showing up in fourteen books, Jerry's first appearance was a brief one in ''Tale of the Witch Doll''.

Salt Sommers: An unattractive but skilled photographer on the ''The Riverview Star'' and part-time airplane spotter, he is a good friend of Penny's. Salt appeared in eleven books, debuting in ''Danger at the Drawbridge''.

Mr. DeWitt: The ''Star's'' gruff but competent city editor. He was first introduced in ''Tale of the Witch Doll'' and appeared in thriteen books overall.

Trivia

Penny and her father were the only members of the main cast to appear in every book. Salt missed six, Mr. DeWitt missed four, Jerry missed three, and Louise and Mrs. Weems each missed one.
Salt was the only main cast member not introduced in the first book, ''Tale of the Witch Doll''. He didn't appear until the third installment of the series, ''Danger at the Drawbridge''.
Penny has blonde hair and blue eyes and is considered slim and athletic. Her age is never revealed.
Louise is a brunette, and described as plump. Like Penny, her age is never revealed.
In ''Danger at the Drawbridge'', Salt is described as having a deep scar on his left cheek.
In ''Saboteurs on the River'', Louise said she was going to be a nurse.
Louise has a younger brother, Ted, who is only mentioned in the first book.
Jerry was absent for two books (''Hoofbeats on the Turnpike'' and ''Signal in the Dark'') on military leave.
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Titles In The Penny Parker Series

Penny Parker Cover Art
01: Tale of the Witch Doll (1939)
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Assisted by her friend Louise, Penny discovers the secret behind Melvin Osandra's seance establishment, helps her friend Nellie Marble out of her difficulties with her doll shop and is able to free actress Helene Harmon from the plague of the witch doll that will not disappear.

02: The Vanishing Houseboat (1939)
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Penny and Louise take their friend Laura Blair to apply for a new job and accidentally discover several mysteries. Linda begins work in a boarding house known for strange disappearances. Penny becomes acquainted with Mud-Cat Joe and his family who are homeless ever since their houseboat was stolen. The two mysteries are connected and Penny is able to help both Laura Blair and Mud-Cat Joe at the same time.
Penny Parker Cover Art
Penny Parker Cover Art
03: Danger at the Drawbridge (1940)
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When the newspaper's society editor becomes ill, Penny gets to cover a society wedding at a mysterious old estate which is surrounded by a moat. Penny stumbles upon a mystery when the groom fails to show up for the wedding. Penny also learns about a missing tax evader and searches for both men at the same time.

04: Behind the Green Door (1940)
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Penny visits a ski resort and stumbles and runs into mystery. Unknown enemies are trying to force the resort to close and during her investigations Penny discovers a mysterious green door that leads to a room that can only be entered by invitation. Meanwhile, a new acquaintance offers to sell Penny a fur coat inexpensively. Penny investigates, solving all of the mysteries, scoops a rival reporter, and is rewarded with a new car
Penny Parker Cover Art
Penny Parker Cover Art
05: Clue of the Silken Ladder (1941)
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On an impulse, Penny buys back her old car, the Leaping Lena, even though she has a new car and no money, but fortunately she gets another job at her father's newspaper. Penny discovers a strange silken ladder and learns how it is used in burglaries. She also connects the burglaries with a group of fake mediums and her story earns her a much-needed raise in pay at the newspaper.

06: The Secret Pact (1941)
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Penny wants to write a story about a strange tattoo she sees on a sailor but neither her father's nor her school's newspaper agree to the idea. Penny decides to start a new newspaper in the abandoned Morning Press building and enlists the help of a few friends. She's soon in trouble after she runs the story about the tattooed man in her new paper. Penny's story turns into a big scoop, gaining Penny respect from her father's colleagues.
Penny Parker Cover Art
Penny Parker Cover Art
07: The Clock Strikes Thirteen (1942)
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Sinister hooded riders are terrorizing farmers at night and most of the farmers are reluctant to talk. Meanwhile, a man named Blake makes a generous donation to the Riverview orphan's camp and offers to buy their land. Penny suspects that he is somehow trying to cheat the orphans. Penny links the hooded bandits to Blake and prevents the orphans from being cheated.

08: The Wishing Well (1942)
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Wishes made at a well on an old abandoned estate are mysteriously granted, and Penny searches for the explanation. In addition to magical qualities, the well appears to have a tangible hidden value since the property owner is seen searching the vicinity and a neighbor tries to buy the land. Penny investigates and discovers not only the secret of the well but also a valuable treasure.
Penny Parker Cover Art
Penny Parker Cover Art
09: Saboteurs on the River (1943)
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Mr. Parker is in a car accident and is taken to the hospital by another driver. However, Mr. Parker never arrives at the hospital, leaving Penny frantic with worry. Penny takes over running the newspaper in her father's absence and discovers a clue to her father's whereabouts at an old abandoned mansion. After Penny helps rescue her father, she is rewarded with a raise in her allowance.

10: Ghost Beyond the Gate (1943)
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Saboteurs dynamite a bridge, and a man named Burt Ottman is accused of the crime based on evidence supplied by Penny. Penny feels that Burt is innocent, so she plans to find the culprits in order to exonerate Burt. Penny seeks the help of Old Noah who lives in an ark filled with animals while he awaits the second great flood. Old Noah plays a role in bringing the saboteurs to justice.
Penny Parker Cover Art
Penny Parker Cover Art
11: Hoofbeats on the Turnpike (1944)
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Penny is in need of money and is highly interested when a man shows her a clipping offering a reward for any information leading to the capture of the Headless Horseman. Penny and Louise travel to Red Valley to search for the horseman and are trapped in a flood after a dam breaks. Penny locates the horseman and has another story for the newspaper.

12: Voice from the Cave (1944)
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Penny is dismayed when her father's new friend, Mrs. Deline, travels with the Parkers on their vacation. Penny considers Mrs. Deline to be a pest and feels that she has ruined their vacation. Fortunately, Penny is distracted by a search for foreign spies who are hiding in the area and have been transmitting information over the radio. Penny is pleased when Mrs. Deline turns out to be one of the foreign agents.
Penny Parker Cover Art
Penny Parker Cover Art
13: Guilt of the Brass Thieves (1945)
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Mr. Gandiss and his son, Jack, ask Mr. Parker to help them stop the theft of brass from their airplane factory. While Jack and Penny visit the factory, a piece of brass is found in the possession of Sally Barker and she is fired. Sally maintains that she has no idea how the brass came to be in her locker and Penny believes her. With Jack and Sally's help, Penny brings the thieves to justice and clears Sally's name.

14: Signal in the Dark (1946)
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The Riverview Star is short-handed, so Penny convinces Mr. Parker to hire her during her school vacation. Penny finds the work difficult, especially because a jealous reporter makes trouble for her. Penny is asked to cover an explosion at the Conway Steel Plant and bungles the job when she loses the camera that was used to take pictures for the story. Penny later redeems herself by recovering the camera and thwarting a gang's plot to sell a fake explosive device.
Penny Parker Cover Art
Penny Parker Cover Art
15: Whispering Walls (1946)
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Hamilton Rhett, the bank president, has disappeared with a large sum of money. Penny finds a piece of paper with a strange symbol on it which Mr. Rhett's secretary, Albert Potts, says is a plumed serpent. It appears that Mr. Rhett has stolen the money but Penny soon realizes that things are not as they seem. As Penny discovers, Mr. Rhett's disappearance has nothing to do with the disappearance of the money.

16: Swamp Island (1947)
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Penny and Louise go to a nearby swamp to gather flowers for a banquet and lose Louise's dog during the trip. They plan to go back but first they learn of an escaped convict. Penny knows the convict would hide in the swamp thus giving her another reason to search the swamp. While dodging dangerous animals, the girls discover Louise's dog, the convict, an illegal immigrant, and an illegal alcohol distillery in the swamp.
Penny Parker Cover Art
Penny Parker Cover Art
17: The Cry at Midnight (1947)
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While out skiing at night, Penny, Louise, and Jerry hear strange sounds coming from a nearby monastery. They discover that a religious cult is living at the monastery. Penny tries to learn more about the cult but the leader is very secretive. When Penny learns of a missing woman who is interested in cults, she becomes convinced that there is a connection. Penny masquerades as one of the cult members and learns the secret of the strange cult.

For Kindle: The Penny Parker Megapack: 15 Complete Novels
For Kindle: Penny Parker Volume 1 (Novels 1-9)
For Kindle: Penny Parker Volume 2 (Novels 10-17)

Penny Parker Cover Art