Monday, June 2, 2008


I’ve been addicted to series since childhood. In elementary school, I had several I adored: The Boxcar Children, Ramona Quimby, All-of-a-Kind Family.

Over the last several days, I’ve reread three Holly Beth Walker Meg books for the first time in twenty years: The Treasure Nobody Saw, Mystery of the Black-Magic Cave, and Mystery in Williamsburg.

A few years ago, I took up The Box Car Children again, and I was a bit disappointed by them. They felt dated, particularly in terms of gender rolls. The Meg series has a similar feeling. Although a majority was written in the 1970s, they have the “wholesome” feel of the 1950s.

Meg Duncan is the classic young heroine. Her mother passed away years before, and her father is an oft-absent, high-power government official. Perhaps writers (and Disney movies) cling to this cliché hoping a lack of adult supervision will give girls the freedom to snoop—and get into numerous “scrapes.”

Meg is definitely a snooper. In these three books, she investigates squatters, witches, and forgers. The mysteries she faces may seem a bit adult—witchcraft?—but Meg never falls into any real danger. She lives in a world where no one locks his doors, a world devoid of child molesters.

As a girl, I loved these mysteries. I remember occasionally feeling delicious fear as I read, and I would recommend them to any voracious young reader. As an adult, I am fraught with worry reading about adult men stalking little girls.

1 comment:

notaconnoisseur said...

Last summer I read "The House on the Point: A Tribute to Franklin W. Dixon and the Hardy Boys" a Hardy Boys mystery that was written by Benjamin Hoff (The Tao of Pooh). Basically he fleshed out the serial story to make it a more interesting story. I enjoyed reading it but realized that I probably would not enjoy a "real" Hardy Boys mystery any more. Far too simplistic. I have to admit though that I spent a lot of time wondering whether Hoff made any money off this book or if he had to pay royalty fees as he did for his books using Piglet and Pooh.