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Mary Louise

L. Frank Baum

Book Overview: 

The Bluebird Books is a series of novels popular with teenage girls. The series was begun by L. Frank Baum using his Edith Van Dyne pseudonym, then continued by at least three others, all using the same pseudonym. Baum wrote the first four books in the series, possibly with help from his son, Harry Neal Baum, on the third.

The books are concerned with adolescent girl detectives— a concept Baum had experimented with earlier, in The Daring Twins and Phoebe Daring. The Bluebird series began with Mary Louise, originally written as a tribute to Baum’s favorite sister, Mary Louise Baum Brewster. Baum’s publisher, Reilly & Britton, rejected that manuscript, apparently judging the heroine too independent. Baum wrote a new version of the book; the original manuscript is lost.

The title character is Mary Louise Burrows. In the first books of the series, she is a fifteen-year-old girl with unusual maturity (though the other girls in her boarding school find her somewhat priggish). She is suddenly confronted with the fact that her beloved grandfather is suspected of no less a crime than treason against the United States. With the help of old and new friends of Mary Louise … the truth is uncovered. The novel features a federal agent named John O’Gorman; he is assisted by his daughter Josie, a young woman he has himself trained to function as an investigator. (The Josie O’Gorman character, despite preceding Nancy Drew by more than a decade, is much less traditionally feminine.)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ny extra money should be applied toward your further board and tuition. Otherwise you would become an outcast, with no place to go and no shelter for your head. That, in common decency, must be avoided. No; I do not approve of any useless expenditures. I shall hoard this money for future emergencies."

In happier times Mary Louise would have been indignant at the thought that her grandfather would ever leave her unprovided for, but she had been so humbled of late that this aspect of her affairs, so candidly presented by Miss Stearne, troubled her exceedingly. She had written a letter every week to her grandfather, addressing it, as he had instructed her to do, in care of Mr. Peter Conant at Dorfield. And always she had stolen out, unobserved, and mailed the letter at the village post office. Of course she had never by a single word referred to the scandal regarding the Colonel or her mother, or to her own unhappy lot at school because of that scandal, knowing how su. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Whisked Away to Intrigue Instead of Oz

Baum wrote this series, among other books, under one of his pseudonyms, Edith Van Dune. And while the main character is Mary Louise, someone else does the solving of the mystery. Or more like all the pieces just fell into place just perfectly. But the characters

3 1/2 rounded up for a well-written, charming story.

Mary Louise was so expertly written that I had a hard time putting it down. I would have never discovered this book had I not decided to read some of the classics available at the local library. So glad I did.

Friendship, family, and spies. Good story, well told.

Quoted from the book:
"To be sure. Isn't that a glad prospect? To pass to a new life, to new adventures, planned for us by the wisdom of God, is the most glorious promise we mortals possess. In good time that joy will be ours, but now we must make the most of our present blessings. I take it, Mary Lo

"Edith Van Dyne” is a pseudonym for L. Frank Baum, of Oz fame, and this book was part of a series that was in turn part of a craze in the 1910’s for girl detective stories. It’s…eh. The writing is breathless and melodramatic and the titular main character is kind of dull. There are ten books in this

L. Frank Baum wrote book series for girls under the nom de plume Edith Van Dyne. Mary Louise is the first of a series featuring Mary Louise, a plain ordinary rich girl whose grandfather is wanted by the State Department. The novel starts with Mary Louise in a private boarding school while living wit

Wikipedia synopsis ... In the first books of the series, she is a fifteen-year-old girl with unusual maturity (though the other girls in her boarding school find her somewhat priggish). She is suddenly confronted with the fact that her beloved grandfather is suspected of no less a crime than treason

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