the penny parker page
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 WhoPenny 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.
TriviaPenny 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