We now reach some extremely vintage stuff that I've read for the very first time:
- I was visiting some Oz friends in Portland and had a little time, so I tucked into their copy of Mary Louise and Josie O'Gorman. This is one of the later titles by "Edith Van Dyne" that was published ofter Baum's death, so this one was written by Emma Speed Sampson. And I think this is the title where "Edith" finally Acknowledged who the real star of the series is, because intrepid girl detective Josie O'Gorman is at the center of things. It is Josie who wonders about the identity of the two orphan children brought to Dorfield and how they came to be in the care of their cousin Dink. It is Josie who manages to get some information out of them that sends her to Atlanta and Indiana, tracking down the children's lost relatives. And it is Josie who manages, through her dogged determinism and a few lucky breaks, to reunite a family separated by greed and war. Granted, Josie has had a huge role in many earlier Mary Louise books, often front and center just as much as here. Domestic, married life seems to agree with Mary Louise, as she barely appears in her own book—which is fine, as she had ceased to be a terribly interesting and compelling character a few volumes back anyway.
- The reason I wanted to read that book is that I had recently acquired and read the next book in the series, Josie O'Gorman, as I saw it at a great price I couldn't pass up. Yes, finally, Josie is the titular star of the series, not Mary Louise. But at least Mary Louise and the rest of the gang are still around, and Josie is still based in Dorfield, so that hasn't changed, at least. And the girls gain a new friend, Ursula, who has come to Dorfield looking for work and a way to support her little brother, Philip. The girls take her in, of course, but something doesn't seem right to Josie, and she ends up doing some digging. But when Philip is kidnapped, she goes into overdrive and discovers a lost fortune and all kinds of skullduggery in Louisville. (Josie appears to be a great traveler, using the trains a lot in her adventures.) Of course all turns out well in the end, and everyone is happy except for the bad people who had been trying to make them unhappy. What's unusual about my copy of this book, however, is that it's not the book I bought! The ad said it was the next book, Josie O'Gorman and the Meddlesome Major, which has always been an extremely elusive book to find at an affordable price. It arrived safe and sound, with the expected title on the cover, and I set it aside to read at a convenient time. But when I finally picked it up and started reading, I realized there was no major meddling in anything. The half-title page, title page, and running titles all said "Josie O'Gorman", and the copyright date was 1923, not the expected 1924. Since Josie O'Gorman is also a hard title to track down, and I hadn't read that, either, I didn't mind. I made a few inquiries, and while such a hybrid is highly unusual, it doesn't add much to the value. So all I really have is a curiosity. But now I'm at least down to only two "Edith Van Dyne" titles I don't own, and one I haven't read.