The Cupples and Leon Mystery Stories for Girls

The Mystery Stories for Girls series was published by Cupples and Leon during the 1930s and featured stories by authors Mildred A. Wirt, Pemberton Ginther, Frances Y. Young, Izola L. Forrester, Alice Anson, and Anna Andrews Barris.


  1. The Jade Necklace,  Pemberton Ginther,  1932
  2. The Thirteenth Spoon,  Pemberton Ginther,  1932
  3. The Secret Stair,  Pemberton Ginther,  1932
  4. The Door in the Mountain,  Izola L. Forrester,  1932
  5. Secret of the Dark House,  Frances Y. Young,  1934
  6. The Twin Ring Mystery,  Mildred A. Wirt,  1935
  7. The Dormitory Mystery,  Alice Anson,  1937
  8. Mystery of the Laughing Mask,  Mildred A. Wirt,  1940
  9. Escape by Night,  Alice Anson,  1941
10. Mystery of the Jade Idol,  Anna Andrews Barris,  1943

Pemberton Ginther is the pen name of Mary Pemberton Heyler who was born in 1869 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and died August 14, 1959, in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.  Ginther was an artist who worked in oils, pastels, and charcoal, as well as an author and illustrator of children's books.  In addition to three titles in the Mystery Stories for Girls series, Ginther wrote the three volume Betsy Hale series, the ten volume Miss Pat series, the four volume Beth Anne series, and Hilda of Three Star Ranch.

No information is available for authors Frances Y. Young, Izola L. Forrester, Alice Anson, and Anna Andrews Barris.

The below summaries are adapted from the dust jackets.

 The Jade Necklace                         1932

by Pemberton Ginther

Roselyn Blake, the daughter of an explorer and scientist, has been left a Chinese jade necklace by her father.  She lives with her guardian, his wife, son and daughter; her best friends.  They move to a great house in the country, and much to their surprise are visited by a Chinese nobleman, his adviser, a philosopher, and his servant, the evil-looking Hop Kee.  Strange things begin to happen.  Roselyn becomes suspicious of Hop Kee.  The atmosphere of the house is tense with mystery.  Is the Chinaman after the Jade Necklace or are his plans more sinister?  Only Roselyn's courage enables her to solve the mystery.

'The Jade Necklace' by Pemberton Ginther
 The Thirteenth Spoon                    1932

by Pemberton Ginther

The Twelve Apostle Spoons are worth a great deal of money, but the Thirteenth Spoon, the Master Spoon, is as valuable as all the other twelve.  Alan Hoyt, after years of effort, has collected the complete set.  They are the prize item of his collection although a Watteau fan is, also, a valuable and rare item.

When Carol comes to be his secretary, Hoyt shows her the spoons and the fan.  Then strange things begin happening at the Hoyt place.  Carol awakens to see a face peering in at her window; she notices a curious mark on the ledge of the tower window; and the actions of Claire, Carol's predecessor, are mysterious and disquieting.

'The 13th Spoon' by Pemberton Ginther
Waking in the night, Carol discovers Mr. Hoyt unconscious, and the spoons and fan gone.  Carol, on a visit to New York, finds a duplicate of the fan on sale in a jewelry store.  She informs Hoyt's friend, Major Walton.  Their investigation leads to a Princess Bulona, to an automobile chase, and—nothing.  But Carol is determined.  An accidental encounter puts her on the trail of the spoons, and through her daring and intelligence, both fan and spoons are recovered.
 The Secret Stair                              1932

by Pemberton Ginther

A mystery story for girls. The "Van Dirk Treasure" is a manuscript, a "Book of Hours," jewelled and illuminated, long in possession of the Van Dirk family.  It should have gone to Philip, last of his line, but peculiar circumstances surround both Philip and the book, and it is not until charming Sally Shaw goes to live in the old Van Dirk mansion by the river, that matters right themselves.  Masked men, footsteps in the night, and smugglers are but a few of the unusual characters in this absorbing story.

'The Secret Stair' by Pemberton Ginther
 The Door in the Mountain              1932

by Izola L. Forrester

The four McLeans, three boys and a plucky girl, live just outside of Frisbee, Arizona, at Los Flores Canyon.  Frisbee was once a mining center, but now it is all but abandoned—even the railroad is thirty miles away.  The daily mail plane that flies over the ranch is the only contact with civilization.  But adventure lurks in strange places, and when Peter and Katherine chance upon the "The Door in the Mountain" and discover an abandoned mine, Frisbee booms and the McLeans grow prosperous and happy.

'The Door in the Mountain' by Izola L. Forrester
 Secret of the Dark House                1934

by Frances Y. Young

Joan is not just an everyday girl, living the ordinary home life, the member of an everyday family, but a girl with an inquiring mind that cannot help analyzing any event that seems out of the ordinary.

A charming stranger in the school room, who seems so out of place; a taciturn chauffeur; a huge dark house; a series of strange robberies; and a secretive old man who always wears a disguise, all combine to place Jean on a hunt which, before it is over, involves brothers, sisters, police, famous detectives, and Smuff, her dog, into one grand mystery story that every girl will enjoy reading.

'Secret of the Dark House' by Frances Y. Young
 The Twin Ring Mystery                  1935

by Mildred A. Wirt

Gail Carrington and Bob Bartley fear that their new friend Joan Bernell will find her stay at Crystal Beach to be dull, but their friend takes a lively interest in everything and is intrigued with an old locket that is to be offered as a prize in an upcoming swimming competition.

Joan finds a secret compartment in the locket which contains a strange silver ring.  Joan learns that the ring is half of a twin ring, two rings that were once joined together.  The twin rings were probably separated and exchanged by an engaged couple, to be rejoined and worn by the bride after the wedding.  Joan and her friends wonder how the ring became separated from its mate.

'The Twin Ring Mystery' by Mildred A. Wirt
The friends translate an inscription on the ring and read a diary which was found with the ring.  Through their efforts, the friends reunite a man and woman who were separated from each other after the woman was believed drowned in a shipwreck.
 The Dormitory Mystery                   1937

by Alice Anson

The moment Martha Meredith enters the dark dormitory at Central University and is greeted by Dean Amanda Jones, the die of mystery is cast.  In cold surly tones the Dean requests that any object found in the dormitory be turned over to the institution at once.

Martha's curiosity is aroused, and fortunately her roommate's hobby of collecting odd pitchers provides a clue to the mystery.  Almost in spite of themselves, Martha and Chubs are involved in a maze of events that leaves them breathless.  A granite toad and a pair of silver oak-leaf pitchers with strange inscriptions that are interpreted in a surprising manner lead the girls to the discovery of a fortune in jewels—the reward for their clever resourcefulness.

'The Dormitory Mystery' by Alice Anson
A lively tale, rich in suspense and fired with refreshing action—a story that will intrigue all girls who enjoy a mystery.
 Mystery of the Laughing Mask       1940

by Mildred A. Wirt

Gail Landreth and her employer, Henry Allan, naturalist, seeking material on the nesting habits of birds, park their car on a lonely dirt road at the edge of Florida's mysterious Everglades.  Beneath a torn bush they find a pin in the form of the conventional Greek comedy mask.  On the back of the pin appears the number '12.'  From that moment, danger, mystery, and intrigue stalk every waking moment of their stay in Florida.

Filled with suspense and dramatic action, the story moves rapidly to a startling climax which involves an abandoned hotel; a disabled tramp steamer; Madam Alexandre, woman of mystery; and the strange organization of The Laughing Mask.

'Mystery of the Laughing Mask' by Mildred A. Wirt
 Escape by Night                             1941

by Alice Anson

Little does Wendy Ralston realize that when she reopens Edgewater Inn as a summer resort in Wisconsin that she is setting into motion a chain of momentous events that have a bearing on the fate of our entire nation.

Unknown to her, half of her guests are Nazi agents whose sole purpose is to sabotage docks and factories.  Almost too late Wendy discovers a terrible plot designed to cripple vital industries in the middle west.  Before she can warn the authorities she is captured.  But Wendy shows the dauntless courage of our American girls and makes a thrilling escape.  She contacts the G-men and the plotters are apprehended.

'Escape by Night' by Alice Anson
This is an up-to-the-minute story, cast against present-day events.  You will not want to put this book down once you start it.  Its sheer drama, suspense, and vitality will hold the reader spellbound.
 Mystery of the Jade Idol                 1943

by Anna Andrews Barris

Judy Winslow coaxes her cousin Susanne Lawrence to ride to an abandoned monastery near the plantation they are visiting in Mexico.  Judy and Susanne meet up with their Uncle Jim and his friend, Colonel Thompson outside the monastery.  The men take the girls to the strong room inside the monastery where the girls view the valuable jade idol that the Colonel found in an archaeological excavation.

As Uncle Jim is to be away for two weeks, he plans to leave the key to the strong room with the Colonel.  Judy, ever ready for adventure, cajoles the Colonel into letting her keep the key, which he very reluctantly does.  Later, the girls speak of the key and the idol and are overheard by others.

'The Jade Idol' by Anna Andrews Barris
Soon, the key is stolen from Judy's room and the idol disappears from its hiding place.  Judy suspects that either an Indian stole it or their new friend, Phil Stanton, and vows to reveal the thief and recover the stolen idol.
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