Mildred Wirt Benson

The Mildred A. Wirt Mystery Stories

The Mildred A. Wirt Mystery stories were published by Cupples and Leon during the late 1930s.  Each book has a glossy frontispiece illustration and comes with a dust jacket.  Two books, Ghost Gables and The Painted Shield were reissued during the 1950s with updated dust jacket art.

List of Mildred Wirt Benson's Stories and Novels for Children

 The Clue at Crooked Lane                1936

Peggy Palmer finds a locked onyx box hidden in a secret compartment of a desk that her Uncle Jack purchased.  Uncle Jack must return the box to the rightful owner, so Peggy drives to Sleepy Hollow to find the owner, who is Linda Mason.  Linda's uncle disappeared mysteriously several years previously and is now believed dead.  Linda is losing her home because she is not the heir in the only will which has come to light.

Peggy tells Linda about the onyx box and theorizes that the real will is locked inside the box.  Peggy and Linda make plans for Linda to pick up the box.  When Peggy returns home, she discovers that the box was accidentally sold by Uncle Jack's clerk.  Peggy traces the new owner of the box, but the woman is unwilling to part with it.

The Clue at Crooked Lane
Peggy vows to recover the box which may prove to be very important to Linda's future happiness.  Peggy's scheme to recover the box results in harrowing adventures and coincidentally reveals what had happened to Linda's uncle.
 The Hollow Wall Mystery                  1936

Sally and Victoria visit Victoria's aunt in Mexico and find their stay to be rather boring until Victoria's spirited brother, Roger, unexpectedly arrives.  Shortly thereafter, the three young people meet Dolores Mercedes, who is practically held a prisoner by her uncle inside the neighboring hacienda.  Uncle Pedro keeps Dolores a prisoner so that Jack Hamilton is unable to see her.  One day the young people meet Jack, who requests that they carry a message to Dolores.  Jack wants Dolores to go with him to the Floating Gardens.  Dolores asks Sally, Victoria, and Roger to accompany them to the gardens.  The trip turns into a disaster when Dolores loses a valuable pin, and Uncle Pedro learns of the outing.

The Hollow Wall Mystery
Uncle Pedro takes Dolores away to his other hacienda, and Sally, Victoria, and Roger feel lost without her.  Victoria's aunt suggests a trip into the mountains, and by chance, the young people meet up with Dolores again.  Sally, Victoria, and Roger learn of a hollow wall, discover its strange secret, and help right a wrong for Dolores.
 The Shadow Stone                            1937

Carol Scott stumbles onto two mysteries quite by accident when first, during a Mardi Gras parade, she is given the strange jade shadow stone when she is mistaken for someone else.  A short time later, Carol is once again mistaken for another person, Sonia and Seenia Mercier's niece, Angela, and at Sonia's request, Carol is asked to masquerade as the niece so that Seenia's poor health will not be stressed by the mistake.

Later that night, Carol meets the Mercier sisters' lawyer, Barry DeForest, who is highly interested in the shadow stone.  He tries to convince Carol to give it to him to add to his collection.  Carol instinctively distrusts the man.

The Shadow Stone
Carol's two mysteries become connected when she once again visits the Mercier sisters and finds that their niece Angela has arrived, but the girl is connected with the mysterious shadow stone.  Is the girl an imposter?  And, is DeForest is cheating the sisters out of their fortune?  Carol vows to discover the truth.
 The Wooden Shoe Mystery               1938

Patty Rose Saunders and her brother, Jack, travel with Gladys Baker to a nearby Dutch community for a festival.  Due to no vacancies at any of the hotels, they stay with the Vandervort family.  The Vandervorts have financial problems, and their daughter Katrina is trying to win a prize in the festival.

The Vandervort family's problems increase when a man arrives claiming to be a distant relative.  Carl Vandervort is extremely interested in the family's old wooden shoe and in the old family house which is on the Vandervort property.  A treasure is said to be hidden in the old house, and the young people are convinced that Carl is after the treasure.

The Wooden Shoe Mystery
The young people begin a search for the treasure and hope to find it before Carl succeeds.  They realize that a coded message etched onto the wooden shoe holds a clue to the hidden treasure and work feverishly to decode it.  Unfortunately, Katrina's father has decided to sell the old house, and the young people must work quickly in order to find the treasure.
 Through the Moon Gate Door           1938

Sally Brandon and her friend Thelma French attend an auction in Chinatown.  While at the auction, a valuable golden Buddha containing an emerald is stolen.  Unbeknownst to Sally, the thieves temporarily hide the Buddha in a box of worthless junk that she purchases at the auction.  Sally discovers the Buddha after she arrives home with the box, but it disappears again before she can return the Buddha to the rightful owner.

While at the auction, Sally and Thelma had met Li-la, a Chinese girl who once went to school with the girls.  Sally and Thelma impulsively travel the next day to Moon-Gate Estate to visit Li-la.  While at the estate, the girls see a hidden door, the Moon-Gate Door, which Li-la refuses to open.

Through the Moon Gate Door
Naturally, Sally and Thelma are consumed with curiosity.  The girls return to the estate later to visit Li-la again and finally walk through the Moon-Gate and into danger and intrigue.
 Ghost Gables                                    1939

When Lois McDonald sees that a stranger has moved into Ghost Gables, she immediately introduces herself.  Glenna Brockman has rented Ghost Gables with the intent of earning money by turning it into a rooming house for college girls.  Lois informs Glenna that the house is reputedly haunted and that it may be impossible to find boarders.  Glenna is discouraged, but Lois promises to help her fix up the house.

Lois is very inquisitive about the house's history and eagerly searches for clues.  A painting of a boy turned to face the wall, a locked bedroom, and scattered newspaper clippings provide mute clues.

Ghost Gables
Glenna finds boarders, but a nosy neighbor feeds them stories of the house being haunted, nearly driving the boarders away.  Lois and Glenna must discover the secret of the house's history before malicious gossip leaves Glenna with no boarders.
 The Painted Shield                            1939

Frances and Benny Wayne travel on a leisurely motor trip down the Mississippi River with their Aunt Harriet and Uncle Jim.  They stop to visit Uncle Jim's old partner, Ralph Leigh, who has received an anonymous letter warning him of vandalism to the Calverton Property, a property he handles for a client in Mexico.  Mr. Leigh has been in a recent accident and is unable to travel so he asks Uncle Jim to check on the property.  The group is at first dismayed that they must interrupt their vacation to travel to Texas to check on the property.  However, the house at Calverton Place is a fascinating octagonal-shaped structure which is located on a beautiful property and the family is soon pleased that they made the trip for Mr. Leigh.

The Painted Shield
The family meets a young Mexican girl named Lolita, who is staying at a cottage located on the property.  Lolita is the daughter of the owner and is searching for her missing brother.  Lolita's brother, Andres, traveled to Calverton place to search for a missing Aztec treasure which the family wishes to return to the Mexican people.  Lolita fears that Andres met with foul play.  Frances and Benny help Lolita find Andres and the treasure on a quest which eventually leads them to an Aztec temple in Mexico.
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