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Dana Girls Books In Order

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Publication Order of Dana Girls Mystery Stories Books

The Secret at the Hermitage (1936)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Circle of Footprints (1937)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mystery of the Locked Room (1938)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Clue in the Cobweb (1939)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Secret at the Gatehouse (1940)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mysterious Fireplace (1941)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Clue of the Rusty Key (1942)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Portrait in the Sand (1943)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Secret in the Old Well (1944)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Clue in the Ivy (1952)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Secret of the Jade Ring (1953)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mystery at the Crossroads (1954)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Ghost in the Gallery (1955)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Clue of the Black flower (1956)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Winking Ruby Mystery (1957)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Secret of the Swiss Chalet (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Haunted Lagoon (1959)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mystery of the Bamboo Bird (1960)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Sierra Gold Mystery (1961)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Secret of the Lost Lake (1962)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mystery of the Stone Tiger (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Riddle of the Frozen Fountain (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Secret of the Silver Dolphin (1965)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mystery of the Wax Queen (1966)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Secret of the Minstrel’s Guitar (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Phantom Surfer (1968)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Curious Coronation (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Hundred Year Mystery (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
Mountain-Peak Mystery (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Witch's Omen (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon

Using the pen-name Carolyn Keene, the Stratmeyer Syndicate looked towards capitalizing on the success of their previous Nancy Drew series. Headed by Harriet Adams, this was another long-lasting and much beloved series that’s carried on for a number of years now. Continuing in a similar tradition as before, they managed to produce a series that was going to leave a vastly influential legacy. Although they never reached the same heights of Nancy Drew, they still managed to create an impact nonetheless. Featuring the story of two teenage sisters at boarding school, it tells of them solving mysteries whilst dealing with school life. This was again an American set series of novels based upon the characters of Jean and Louisa Dana and their time there during the 1930s, this being around the time of the Great Depression as well, which played a great part in informing their status.

Still a strong title, it never gained the popularity of Nancy Drew, but it definitely held its own alongside ‘The Hardy Boys’ as a popular title of its time. Running for a long-time, it charted the sisters relationship over the years, building a trust with them and their readers. This leads to it retaining its ever enduring legacy that still holds up as one of great importance to this very day.

By the Light of the Study Lamp

Originally published in 1934, this book was to mark the first in this alternative to Nancy Drew, as it capitalized on the previous series success, whilst attempting to branch off by itself. Setting up a different environment and different tone to the series, whilst keeping the detective aspect intact, it aimed to take the teenage sleuthing into a boarding school. The characters also needed to be updated here as well, to appropriately reflect this transition for the readers, providing the style and the tone that was to come.

Setting up their characters, they’re Jean and Louise Dana, two intelligent sisters who are currently attending boarding-school and will, like Nancy Drew, do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of the mystery. Insightful and pragmatic, they inspect every detail and, using their excellent skills of deduction work to ensure that justice is done and the finally truth prevails. All this whilst navigating the various pitfalls of school, as they try to keep on top of everything and manage all of their work simultaneously alongside their detective work. There are many other friends and teachers who, both willingly and reluctantly, get involved in their mysteries along the way, thus involving a wide-range of people in the narrative. With the characters becoming participants in their adventures, it gives them a lot of avenues and possibilities to explore, which in turn opens out the narrative. This allows the teenage duo to become far more active members within their environment than the previous series, as the school itself plays an integral part of the narrative. It also provides the premise of the many books to follow in this highly influential, although very short-lived series, as it established the school and its surroundings. Creating a sense of what was to come for the readers, it reinvented itself as it moved away from the initial Nancy Drew series and into a franchise all of its own. This allowed the Dana Sisters to become an entity unto themselves, whilst existing in a preset list of already firmly established rules that had been tried and tested up to that point in regards to the genre itself.

Given a lamp by their Uncle Ned, the sisters intend to use it upon return to their school so as to study with it, and that’s when the lamp is stolen and found within a second-hand shop near to their school of Starhurst. Buying it back, they then happen to make enemies with a girl named Lettie Briggs who wanted their room to herself, along with wanting to buy the lamp too. That’s when they meet Evelyn Starr who, along with her brother, had parents that owned the school of Starhurst, but now have no money and are struggling to pay her tuition there. The girls then find that the answer they’re looking for may be a lot closer to home as their antique lamp could contain all the answers they require for Evelyn’s predicament. Will they be able to solve this mystery in time by the light of the study lamp?

The Secret at Lone Tree Cottage

In this follow up to the first novel, the readers are introduced to the second installment in the Dana Sisters franchise and an all new mystery to get involved in. First published in 1934, it worked to establish their characters even further than before, this time with the school year already underway with them there from the start. It also managed to convey a somewhat deeper and more in-depth tone to what came before in the previous book, allowing a new style to shine through.

This time the sisters find that their favorite teacher, Miss Tissdale, has been abducted after her car is found beside the road empty along with signs of a struggle. Not only that, but her sister was being looked after by Miss Tissdale after she had to support her following a marriage, the ex-partner of her sister’s now husband being angry with them. Although this is the chief suspect, the sisters are prevented from contacting the police as this might cause Miss Tissdale’s frail father to go into shock. Will they be able to find Miss Tissdale in time and solve the secret at Lone Tree Cottage?

The Dana Girls Series

Whilst this may not have gained so many readers as the Stratmeyer Syndicate’s other properties, that’s not to say this one isn’t entirely without merit. Although it may not have been as popular, it still boasted some highly influential writers working on it and producing some much beloved books. Given its alternative location as well, it managed to successfully combine both the mystery genre with the boarding school genre. This then gave it an identity that was unique and all its own, as it produced rich and vibrant stories for readers young and old alike. Having published these stories from the 1930s to the 1960s, they continue to be a document of of their times for generations to come.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Dana Girls

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