Beverly gray re ron howard 2
The Beverly Gray Mystery Stories, comprising 26 novels published between 1934 and 1955, were written by Clair Blank, pen name of Clarissa Mabel Blank Moyer. The series began as a series of school stories, and followed Beverly's progress through college, her various romances, and a career as a reporter before becoming strictly a mystery series.
- Beverly gray re ron howard 2
- Beverly gray on being part of the lwpc family
- Beverly Gray Freshman
- Beverly Gray Sophomore
- Beverly Gray Junior
- Beverly Gray Senior
- Beverly Gray at the Worlds Fair
- Beverly Gray on a World Cruise
- Beverlys tribulations
- Publication history
- A L Burt 19341937
- Blue Ribbon Books 19371938
- Grosset and Dunlap 19381954
- McLoughlin Bros 1955
- International editions
- Icelandic titles
Beverly is portrayed as an extraordinarily determined individual, with "a driving ambition in her heart that would not let her idle her life away." Across 26 books, she leads "such a life of adventure as would tax the resources of any soap opera heroine".
Beverly gray on being part of the lwpc family
*This title was dropped from the series in 1938
Beverly Gray, Freshman
Beverly Gray, Freshman is the first book in the Beverly Gray series. Published concurrently in 1934 with Sophomore, Junior, and Senior, it introduces Beverly as a freshman at Vernon College. College life and excitement fills up the majority of the work, but in between Beverly becomes lost in a snowstorm and is kidnapped.
Beverly makes her first appearance as she steps off the train carrying her to Vernon College from her hometown, Renville, accompanied by Anne White, her childhood friend. They attend Vernon to follow in their mothers' footsteps instead; Beverly's mother is described as "the patron saint of Vernon College".
The two girls settle into life at Vernon College, where Beverly's paternal surname affords her relative anonymity as she attempts to make good "on her own merits, not under another's colors." Three of the other four freshmen in Chadwick Hall—Lenora Whitehill, Rosalie Arnold, and Anne's roommate Lois Mason—prove friendly, while Beverly's roommate Shirley Parker is "aloof" and "patronizing." These girls variously join Beverly in the seven chapters preceding winter break, where they break curfew to view a movie (chapter 2); are caught (chapter 3); are "initiated" on Halloween when the sophomores and juniors put them through "various antics", then compel them though a haunted house (chapter 4); gain "revenge" by crashing the junior and sophomore "masquerade dance" and winning the costume contest (chapter 5); scrape through a geometry examination (Chapter 6); and beat the juniors in a basketball game (chapter 7).
Winter break sees Beverly and Anne reunite the "Lucky Circle," a collection of eight childhood friends, but Beverly is kidnapped while returning from a camping spot. As the group returns home, they become disoriented by a blizzard and take a wrong turn. The boys try to find the right way, with Beverly leading them. She sprains her ankle, falls down a hill, and awakes to the sight of a tall and disheveled-looking woman. The "hermit woman of Dunnsville," as she is generally known, or "Big Bertha," as she calls herself, has a homicidal bent, and one of the guards of the mental institution she was in. She has been on the lam for years. Bertha believes Beverly to be the daughter for whose death she was responsible, and starts treating her ankle. During the second night of her captivity she sneaks out while Bertha sleeps, but falls through snow and earth into a bear trap, climbing out to find herself face to face with a black bear. Bertha arrives with hunting knife in hand and fights the bear. Back at the cabin, Beverly's father and Jim show up and rescue her; Bertha escapes.
During the spring term, back at college, Beverly discovers that Shirley sneaks out at night to meet with a man, Tom. Shirley laments her life at Vernon to Tom, who exhorts her to run away with him. Her college life and rich parents do not ensure her happiness; Tom, of a more lowly background, proposes they run away to New York. Shirley agrees to go the next night. Beverly and Anne, Lenora, Lois, and Rosalie confront her, but initially to no avail: Shirley leaves but returns shortly thereafter.
Shirley is a new woman upon her return, and is no longer unfriendly, losing her aloofness toward Beverly when the latter saves her from a fire, which breaks out at night; Beverly saves Shirley from her burning room. Beverly ends up in the college infirmary with her mother watching over her, and Shirley visits to offer her friendship.
The remainder of Beverly's first year passes quickly. Shirley performs in a play and is asked to join a theater company over the summer; Tom, who witnessed her performance, is rebuffed when he again attempts to woo Shirley away. He returns as Beverly and Shirley walk back to their dormitory, confronting them with a revolver and demanding ten thousand dollars from Shirley's rich father, lest he sell newspapers the "story of the rich Shirley Parker who was going to run away with a thief." Shirley calls his bluff, Beverly whacks his wrist with a stick, Tom leaves, and Shirley keeps the revolver as a memento. All that remains is a going-away party at the college students' favorite ice cream parlor. Beverly's friends the college dean, Miss Wilder, join together for a fête in Beverly's honor. The dean gives a toast, and Beverly is given an engraved watch.
Beverly Gray, Sophomore
Beverly Gray, Sophomore explores the mystery that the series would become known for. Beverly spends most of her year investigating a seemingly haunted mansion used by drug smugglers. She also manages to foil a jewel theft over winter break, survive a plane crash, and solve the theft of a set of history examination questions.
Now in their second year at Vernon College, the six main girls reunite in Beverly's room and form a sorority, the "Alpha Delta Sorority". Beverly joins the Comet, the college paper, as an entry into a literary career. The Comet's editor, Alison Cox, assigns Beverly an investigation into strange happenings in the abandoned Horler Mansion, a decaying structure whose last owner was reportedly murdered.
Ghosts prove elusive at the Horler Mansion, but sinister figures are easier to find. In her first trip to the house Beverly encounters an unkempt man with a "long, evil-looking scar [running] from the point of his chin to the tip of his left ear." The man warns Beverly of "ghosts," introduces himself as "the head ghost" and escorts her "roughly" to the door. A back window gives Beverly reentry, during which she find "pink packets filled with a finely ground powder" in the attic. Beverly abandons her find—without taking a sample—to make it back in time for dinner, and when she returns three days later "all the boxes [are] gone." The mystery deepens when various Alpha Delta girls observe "a skeleton dance" on successive nights, where ten skeletons move in "queer jerky steps" about two lanterns in the mansion while "making chill-provoking groans and murmurs." Beverly's next trip inside the house finds her face to face with a "handsome" "younger man" with "laughing blue eyes," "dazzling smile," and "a tanned face beneath a mop of rich chestnut hair," carrying "an aviator's helmet and goggles in his hand." Larry remains mysterious to Beverly, who can't figure out whether he is one of the "ghosts" or not, yet he quickly becomes an interest of her affection. On Halloween he crashes the sophomore dance—the same one that Beverly herself crashed the previous year—in a Robin Hood costume; claiming to be there to "ask questions about the Horler Mansion," he manages to capture two dances with Beverly in the process.
On Beverly's next visit to the Horler Mansion, she encounters another sinister character. Through the window a "face appeared—and such a face! Beverly pressed the back of her hand across her mouth to keep from screaming aloud. Small, slanting, bead-like eyes peered in at her. The thin cruel lips parted in a toothless grimace. The black hair was straggled and matted over the yellow face. A Chinaman!" Beverly continues exploring when the man does not reappear, but upon making her way back to the attic, is locked in by "the head ghost." "We'll let you stay up here and keep the rats company for a while," he warns her. "Maybe it will teach you not to butt into other people's business." Larry arrives to pull her out through the skylight, and the two make their way "slowly, slipping, sliding," across the roof, through a window, and out of the house. Two days later it is Lenora who does not return from the mansion, and Beverly and Shirley who go after her. In the scene theoretically depicted on the dust jacket they run from "Chadwick Hall the Second"—built to replace the Chadwick Hall which burned the previous year—to the mansion, where they find Lenora unconscious in the cellar. They determine that she tripped on a "broken step and fell," while Larry happens on by and aids the girls as they take Lenora back to campus.
Thanksgiving comes, and with it a football game between Yale and Jackson College. Beverly and Anne are at the Yale Bowl to witness Jim Stanton, a childhood friend and member of the Lucky Circle "in love with Beverly ever since he was a boy in the third grade at school and she in first," score on an 85-yard interception return, and Tommy Chandler, another childhood friend and Lucky Circle member, kick the go-ahead extra point. Yale wins 7–6, and at that night's "big dance in honor of the two football teams," Jim "quite suddenly [bends] over and kisse[s]" Beverly. "'Why, Jim!'" she exclaims, "taken utterly aback by surprise." Jim defends himself, "'[p]lease Beverly, don't be angry. You looked so sweet and—lovely that—I had to see if you were real!'" The chapter concludes, as does all mention of Jim for the rest of Sophomore. The girls return to Vernon College to hear that an "unidentified man was shot . . . close to the Horler Mansion" while they were away. Although an investigating "policeman insists he saw a Chinaman poking about in the front room," when he entered the room "there was no one there."
Before the mysteries surrounding Horler Mansion can be investigated any further, the six Alpha Delpha girls decamp to Shirley's New York home for the Christmas holidays. The girls are met at Grand Central Station by the Parkers' "liveried chauffeur," and are awed by the "grandeur" of her home. Shirley's parents prove "too taken up, her father with his business and her mother with society"; her father briefly thanks Beverly for saving Shirley the previous year before excusing himself with "important work to do," while her mother "discharges [the chauffeur] about three times a week" for minor grievances. Time is taken up by sightseeing and a variety of parties thrown by members of "society's four hundred. . . . The girls were overwhelmed by the importance of the famous writers, politicians, and society folk that they met." At one of these events Beverly is approached by Charlie Blaine; she a first year reporter on her college newspaper, and he a reporter for the Herald Tribune, they find themselves on similar footing. "Her own desire to become a newspaper writer provided a basis for their friendship, and they found much to talk about. She told him about her position on the college paper, and he provided interesting experiences he had had as a reporter." The following afternoon he takes the girls sightseeing, first to the Empire State Building and then to Chinatown. "Down crooked streets and past darkened alleyways where crime rears its ugly head, through smoky Chinese restaurants, Charlie Blaine showed them how squalidly the people of the underworld lived." Not only do the girls see a man who "has committed two murders [and] is only twenty-three" resting "indolently in a doorway," they happen upon the "head ghost" from the Horler Mansion. The man is "Pete," Charlie explains, "commonly known as a smuggler."
Beverly has just enough time to thwart a jewel theft before heading back to Vernon. Charlie Blaine calls two days after his tour of Manhattan, inviting Beverly to a ball in honor of the "Duke of Abernethy" to help "gather the material" for "the society column in the morning paper." The ball features "a couple of counts . . . a lord or two [and] maybe even a prince" in addition to one Mrs. Cathelwaite with "her famous emerald, worth about a quarter of a million dollars" and one Madame deFreigne with "a diamond set in a bracelet that is worth a half million." Beverly dances with "the Comte de Bourgeine, of the French nobility," who seems particularly "fond of jewels," and soon after Charlie claims the next dance a "woman's scream [rings] out"; Madame deFreigne's bracelet has been stolen "in the center of the dance floor, amid a hundred people or more." Beverly sees the count slip away, and overhears him on the telephone, French accent forgotten, declaring that "I've got it." While Charlie leaves to get the police Beverly confronts the thief, scuffling with him long enough for two officers to arrive and throw "themselves upon the bogus count." In the morning "the story of how Beverly had prevented the thief from escaping and so saved the famous DeFreigne diamond bracelet [is] in prominent print on the front page of the Herald Tribune." Holiday adventures at an end, that afternoon the girls take the train back to Vernon.
The return train ride, shared with "the head ghost," Pete, foreshadows more mystery at the Horler Mansion. On Beverly's next trip to the house she again encounters "that evil-looking Chinaman," who warns her away in broken English. "When the man advanced toward her, his hands, coming from the enveloping sleeves [of his blouse], disclosed a long, sharp knife. Beverly turned and ran." Her next stop is to Inspector Dugan of the Vernon police, who suggests that "the most logical explanation" is that the men are "smuggling drugs into this country" from "the Orient." After she puts in a good word for a handcuffed Larry, who was "arrested yesterday on suspicion" for "poking about the mansion, trying to get in," the inspector leaves to search for the men in the mansion. This they do to no avail, but when Beverly follows later, she conveniently sees "the Chinaman" entering, and leaving, a space hidden behind the front room fireplace. Newly wise to the entry mechanism—a spring triggered by pressing on "the baseboard . . . about ten inches to the left of the fireplace"—she enters the hidden room, discovering a smoky den with an "uneven" dirt floor, a table with a "dirty deck of playing cards," and boxes presumably filled with drugs. Unfortunately, it does not dawn on Beverly until the door closes that "she did not know the location of the spring" in the hidden room. "She would have to stay here until she found it or until someone found her." Searching for the exit does not seem to occupy her for long. Beverly "searched for a spring that would release the fireplace. She could find none and had to give up." She instead elects to play solitaire while waiting for the return of "the head ghost and the Chinaman"; in the resulting confrontation the latter man is introduced as "Wah Fang," and Pete threatens to put Beverly "on a boat bound for China." Larry and Inspector Dugan arrive to break down the dividing wall, but not before Wah Fang chokes Beverly unconscious with his "yellow fingers." He then turns his knife upon Larry, but is shot by the policeman before inflicting any harm. Back at "the inspector's office" the next day, Beverly's throat "sore and bruised," the final details of the mystery are cleared up. Larry is employed by the Secret Service and has been "chasing smugglers and thieves ever since [he] graduated from college three years ago," including a "new gang of smugglers" importing "illicit drugs . . . from the Orient on a steamer called the Tamara." His partner is revealed to have been the unknown man who was shot, a crime to which Pete confesses. Other smugglers were also involved (although Pete and a recovering Wah Fang "won't tell who they are"), and the dancing skeletons are explained by the men donning "black suits" with "bones in phosphorescent paint" in order "to keep the people hereabouts scared away from the house."
The mysterious goings on at the Horler Mansion may be over, but the same cannot be said for Sophomore. Beverly's adventures continue in a plane crash with Larry, who has promised to take her "sky riding" in his "red monoplane," the "Red Bird." Initial engine trouble is forestalled with an unscheduled stop at an airport, but after "an hour or two" a mechanic, dubbed Sir Galahad "because they could conceive no one who might look less like the famous knight," clears them for re-flight. This is proven to be a mistake when the Red Bird is "caught in the midst of a terrific storm" and loses power to its engine. "The Red Bird slipped, slid, and circled down. [They] could do nothing but wait for the crash. The earth loomed up dark and mysterious under them. . . . There came the whistle of the wind, the crack of the wings as the Red Bird dove into the trees, a deafening, splintering crash, and then—silence, while the storm raged on." Beverly and Larry are "thrown clear" of the wreckage, sustaining "a broken rib" and "a broken arm" respectively. A hike through the surrounding woods takes them to a "rough wagon road" and the "crude" house of poor farmers. Jake and his wife, Mrs. Thompson, call for the doctor, who in turn calls for Beverly's friends. Shirley, Lenora and Inspector Dugan come calling in the inspector's car, and next Beverly and Larry are heard from, it is to say that they have "completely recovered."
The final excitement in Beverly Gray, Sophomore, comes when a history examination is stolen from the office of Professor Leonard. Beverly and Shirley happen to be looking out their window at the right time to see the movements of the thief, a girl "gliding silently and mysteriously from dark shadow to shadow across the campus." They retrace her steps from Courtney Hall, a dormitory, to Penfield Hall, site of their history class, even going so far as to climb through a window above "a box half hidden in the shrubbery" used by the thief to stand on. That evening Shirley is accused of stealing the test, and it is revealed that her "silver bracelet, with her name engraved on it, was found just inside the window." Professor Leonard, an "old buzzard" and "cold, calculating man," is especially suspicious of Shirley, for despite being "a wizard at geometry" and knowing "her literature from beginning to end," she is a "dunce" when it comes to history. As Shirley "pack[s] her trunk, so certain was she that she would be expelled," the remaining Alpha Delta girls look for the true culprit. Their suspicions center on "snobbish May Norris," the professor's assistant and "teacher's pet," conveniently introduced the page before the thief is seen though the window. Not only was she "as low in her marks as Shirley was, if not lower," but she "lives in Courtney Hall," and each time she passes the girls keeps "her eyes from meeting theirs" as "color [rises] to her cheeks." Beverly's suspicions are confirmed when Alison Cox, who also lives in Courtney Hall, tells her that May "prowls about awf'ly mysterious at night," and that on the night of the theft, "I met May in the hall. She looked awf'ly surprised and startled, . . . as thought as though I had caught her in the midst of a crime." Beverly, "determined" to talk to May, knocks on her door and waits outside when there is no answer, declaring to a passing Alison that "I'm waiting for a story, and if I get it there will be a sensation about Vernon." Her persistence is rewarded when May "cautiously" leaves her room with "a roll of papers under her arm," one of which falls to the floor. Beverly grabs "May's arm in a firm grip" even before looking at the paper, which, she declares, "looks like history exam questions." A tête-à-tête in May's room ensues. "No one at Vernon ever knew just what took place inside that room during the fifteen minutes that Beverly was with May," but the end result is that May admits her theft to the dean. Beverly leaves Shirley, next seen "on her knees before her trunk, packing," unawares until the dean personally delivers the news later that day. Shirley, despite her close brush with expulsion, forgives May, appearing "before the faculty and ask[ing] for leniency." Adventure and mystery finally over, the girls depart for their summer break.
Beverly Gray, Junior
Opening on the first day of term, Beverly Gray, Junior is the story of Beverly's third year at Vernon College, which includes her kidnapping by a group of gypsies. Her rescue does come in time, however, for a few parting adventures: Winter break sees Beverly and Shirley suffer skiing and ice skating injuries, while the attempts by May Norris to sabotage Shirley's role as Hamlet in the school play ultimately effect her redemption.
A band of gypsies has set up camp on the outskirts of Vernon. The six Alpha Delta girls walk over to their camp to have their fortunes told. They are met at the camp by Orlenda; Beverly is warned of a period of danger. Returning to campus, the girls notice "dark and swarthy", whom they assume immediately to have stolen something. The man denies the accusation but then runs away, dropping money and jewelry stolen from the office safe of Mrs. Dennis of Chadwick Hall.
That night, after returning the stolen items and leaving to mail letters from town, Beverly fails to return. Her disappearance is met with increasing alarm, and both her parents and Inspector Dugan are notified. Chapters four through seven narrate from the perspective of Beverly's friends. Her father being "an important something or other in the government," her picture is seemingly "put in every newspaper in the country." The first purported news is that a "girl matching Beverly's description" was in a Vernon art shop the night of her disappearance, when it was robbed by a man "believed to be a gypsy." He had stolen the girls wristwatch, and she had given chase. Although the shop owner offers conflicting descriptions and "doesn't know his own mind," the girls know Beverly is attached to her watch, which was presented to her at the end of her first year "for extraordinary heroism." The inspector for his part, is "positive" that Beverly has been kidnapped, since "there have been so many kidnapings in the country," and holds the gypsies responsible. Meanwhile, Jim Stanton and Larry Owens, "two straight, clean, strong young men," arrive at approximately the same time to aid in the search. Two days later comes the news that the gypsies "are camped about five miles directly to the south," causing the boys to take flight in Larry's "red autogiro Red Bird II," replacement for the Red Bird that crashed in Sophomore. Larry and Jim land on a road near the camp, feigning engine trouble; after giving a curious member of the group "the most thrilling experience in his life" with an airplane ride, they solicit an invitation to the camp. There they observe "one wagon, standing apart from the rest, that [is] shut up tight" with two "most protective" men sitting on its steps. Soon thereafter Inspector Dugan and his men arrive at the camp, having been delayed by "a flat tire." Armed with a warrant, they search every wagon, including the one that is closed off. Protestations that the officers not disturb the "sick grandmother" of one member are only good enough to allow two members to enter beforehand "for a few moments" to "prepare the old woman for the disturbance." The inspector is inside "but a moment" before declaring "[n]othing there," leading the police, Larry and Jim to decamp back to Vernon empty-handed. "Three more days pass" before Gerry Foster, a friend from Freshman who graduated the previous year and is now living with her aunt in Pennsylvania, writes Shirley to tell her of seeing Beverly at the County Fair. "I spied a young man and woman standing across the midway. As sure as I live, I am sure that the girl was Beverly. [She] must have felt me looking at her, for she looked up suddenly and met my gaze. She recognized me, I am sure. Indeed, she even smiled a trifle. Then she gave one glance at the young man with her, and they both turned away. I was across the road in two shakes of a lamb's tail, but when I got to where they had been standing, they had disappeared."
As Larry and Jim make haste to the Red Bird II to fly to the fair, the narration turns back some nine days to tell Beverly's story. On her way to mail letters she passes by an art shop, where her gaze settles on "a pair of book ends, carved into the form of white elephants." She goes to purchase them—they turn out to be the last of 25 pairs—when a "dark and swarthy" man enters with his right hand pushed "insinuatingly" forward "in his coat pocket." He takes the money from the register, then, seeing Beverly's "expensive" watch, tears it from her wrist. Beverly steals after him, but, upon catching up, finds the tables turned; he pins "her arms to her sides" and carries her "through the bushes" by the street and into a "gypsy wagon." There she is met by Orlenda, the "toothless and weather stained" woman who warned Beverly earlier in the day about a coming "great danger." The "horrible old creature" suggests to Dimiti, Beverly's kidnapper, that she might fetch them "much gold," and on this premise they elect to hold Beverly prisoner as the group leaves town. The wagon "rumble[s] to a halt" in the morning, and Orlenda and Dimiti return to dye Beverly's skin with a "mysterious brown substance." As Dimiti explains it to her, the "liquid is to make your skin darker so, if anyone should see you, you could pass for one of us." A dash for the exit yields only seizure by Dimiti and a slap to the face by Orlenda, who then "generously" daubs Beverly with liquid until her skin becomes "as dark now as any of the gypsies'."
Although the gypsies are almost universally described as unpleasant—marked as "ruthless," with "dusty and wrinkled" clothes, "evil grimace[s]," and, frequently, "swarthy" skin—there is one that does not fit the mold. Anselo is "refined." He carries "the bearing of a gentleman," and with it "a touch of Old World gallantry." He is also a violinist extraordinaire, serenading Beverly from outside the wagon where she is held prisoner. "He could get more music from a violin than anyone Beverly had every heard. He should certainly be in a great orchestra, never wasting his talent here in a gypsy camp. . . . He played until the moon was high in the heavens and the gypsy came fire was dying low." Between nocturnes he reunites Beverly with her wristwatch, somehow obtained from Dimiti. The next day Anselo takes Beverly for a walk in the woods, during which he suggests she has "the gypsy heart." Beverly admits that "the roving life fascinates me"; indeed, Sophomore saw her quoting Bliss Carman to the effect that "there is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir," awaking "dreams of what she hoped to be some day, dreams of places she hoped to visit and sights she longed to see." She nevertheless rejoins that "Gypsies don't like to work. . . . That is why they are so restless. They roam about, living on what the earth produces." The back and forth abates when they hear an airplane overhead, which Beverly realizes is the Red Bird II. Anselo refuses to go see it, admitting that "Dimiti had word that the police would search our camp today," and that "to avert bloodshed" he had suggested taking Beverly from the camp. "He was her friend, but all the same he was a gypsy, and his loyalty to his tribe came first."
Freedom remains at bay only a little longer for Beverly, who is spotted the next day by Gerry Foster. Anselo proposes to take her to the County Fair where the gypsies have stopped, making her promise not to run away. Though they would object if they knew of the plan, "Orlenda is telling fortunes, and Dimiti is trading horses" (they are apparently operating openly despite the fact that Inspector Dugan "has the police in every state on the lookout for the gypsies"). Past "the fat lady, the sword swallower, the fire eater, [and] the snake charmer" the two wander, but just as Gerry makes eye contact with Beverly from across the road, so too does Dimiti spot her. Anselo takes Beverly back to her wagon, where she is joined that afternoon by an irate Dimiti. He claims to have "slashed" Anselo with a knife, and advances on Beverly ("We could be such good friends") with outstretched hand "to stroke her arm." Beverly grasps his knife; Dimiti makes "a sudden lurch" at her; she thrusts the knife "deep into the flesh of his upper arm"; and he responds by knocking her unconscious.
By the next night the gypsies have moved once again, this time to "a regular camping place in the hills." Beverly, Anselo and Dimiti have all recovered, the latter two with bandaged woulds. Larry and Jim, meanwhile, arrive at the fair and are directed towards the camping grounds. With plans to "sneak up on the tribe under cover of the night," they are revealed when the camp fire shows them "skulking along in the shadows." In the ensuing scuffle they fight "like tigers, and more than one gypsy disclosed a black eye or a broken tooth where he had come in contact with a flying fist." A gypsy with "a large club" ends the fight; Larry and Jim are bound, and thrown in "a cave on the hillside." Watching from her wagon, Beverly implores Anselo to help them escape, but to tell them "to leave the camp alone. Tell them that I am not here—tell them anything, but make them go before Dimiti kills them!" Anselo enters the cave under cover of darkness to slash their bindings, yet tells them Beverly can be found in "that wagon to one side of the camp." His parting request is that they tell her "Anselo wishes her happiness always." The opening of Beverly's wagon door causes her to tense—"Was it Dimitri? . . . What did her mean, coming to her wagon now when everyone in the camp was asleep?"—but upon recognizing Jim she throws herself on him. Fanfare accompanies the trio's exit when "a misstep on Larry's part" sends a rock crashing down the hills, but, dodging "[t]hrowing knives" and carrying Beverly after she sprains her ankle, they reach the Red Bird II safely.
Beverly's kidnapping may have only lasted some two weeks, but the fall term yields to winter break a mere chapter after her return. The gypsies "disappear," eluding capture; Larry proposes to Beverly; Jim "smile[s] broadly in relief" when Beverly declines, then leaves to take an engineering job in Wyoming; and Shirley, parents "off to Europe" for the holidays, is invited to Renville. Assuring Beverly that despite being from New York she will not find Renville small, Shirley hints at the premise for The Adventure Girls at K Bar O when she declares that "I spent one summer on a ranch in Arizona." Beverly, Shirley and Anne thus leave shortly before Christmas for home, where the Lucky Circle (sans Jim) is reunited. The usual celebrations and gaiety intersperse themselves among several close calls. "A bad accident" is "narrowly averted" when Shirley and Beverly barely avoid crashing into Anne and Joan's "wrecked sled." Shirley learns to ski over the course of the next three days, only to be knocked unconscious at the bottom of a hill "ending abruptly in a sheer drop of twenty-five feet or more." She is "fit as a fiddle" the next day, and accompanies the Lucky Circle ice skating on "the lake front." When Bucky Harris, "a chubby little fellow" who "lives across the street from" Beverly, falls through thin ice, Shirley inches towards him and herself falls in. Shirley pushes Bucky back on the ice, then is lulled unconscious by the cold; Beverly, "rope securely about her waist," falls in after Shirley; and the Lucky Circle pulls them to safety. A "heavy cold" for Shirley and "a slight attack of the sniffles" for Beverly, the doctor prescribes cold medicine for both and "several days in bed" for Shirley. The girls nevertheless prove none the worse for wear, and the next afternoon their friends come by to anoint Shirley "an honorary member of the Lucky Circle." Thanks are also bestowed by Bucky "fer rescuin' me," and, by "the time the day dawned when [Shirley and Beverly] were to start back to Vernon, they were their old healthy selves again."
Christmas holidays "weeks past," when they are next heard from the six Alphas are planning the junior production of Hamlet. Lenora is the director, Lois is cast as Ophelia, Beverly is "in charge of the scenery" with Anne her assistant, and Rosalie has "charge of the costumes." Shirley is to play the leading role, fulfilling a pledge made in Sophomore to pursue an acting career. This assignment comes at the expense of May Norris; "no friend of any of the Alphas" after Shirley was wrongfully accused of stealing examination questions the previous year, she has "her heart set on playing the lead" but must settle for understudy. When Josephine Carter breaks her arm falling down a flight of stairs to the storeroom, claiming afterwards that "[s]omebody pushed me," Lenora suspects May. Shirley had originally been asked to fetch an item from the room, leading to the suggestion that May "waited until she thought Shirley was on her way to the storeroom. May slipped into the basement after her. In the darkness she could not see that the girl she pushed wasn't Shirley, but Josephine." If Shirley "twisted [her] ankle, or broke [her] arm, as Josephine did, [she] couldn't play Hamlet, and that would give May her big chance. Beverly is tapped to replace Josephine as Queen, and "nothing ever [comes] to light about the 'accident.'" In the following weeks May acts friendly towards Shirley, a shift from her previous "violent dislike" of "all the Alpha girls." Her perfidy is revealed on the day of the play, when she convinces Shirley to investigate "[m]ysterious lights and figures that have been seen in the old Horler Mansion again." Shirley relents when May accuses her of being "afraid of the ghosts," and May promptly locks her in the attic where Beverly had been imprisoned the previous year. "'May!' Shirley tugged ineffectively at the trapdoor. 'Let me out of here!' 'Tomorrow, darling, tomorrow. I am going to play Hamlet tonight. . . . Let's see if your dear Alpha friends can find you now.'" Crossing campus in the right place at the right time, Beverly proves equal to this last challenge when she "unabashedly" eavesdrops on May and her roommate. "It wasn't a polite thing to do, she realized, but who thinks of the polite things to do when one is curious?" Once May "laughingly" relates her actions, all Beverly has to do is run to the mansion and open the offending trapdoor. Shirley returns with ten minutes to spare, just in time to wow with her performance. "As Hamlet, Shirley had portrayed a really tragic character. She had brought to the rôle a fine understanding and sympathetic strain that captured the audience completely. Even Lois' fine portrayal of Ophelia was overshadowed by Shirley's really brilliant performance." After the performance, "Mr. Forsythe, manager of the Forsythe Film Company" stops by the dressing room to tell of his intention "to make a motion picture [at Vernon College] next year." The star will come "from Hollywood, but there will be minor rôles to be taken by the girls of the school." He departs, and the girls leave to "report the news to the rest of the Chadwick Hall girls."
As the girls leave the auditorium, they notice "[l]ittle wafts of smoke" emitting from under May's dressing room door. The girls break down the door and extinguish the fire, discovering "a lighted cigarette in the ash tray." Knowing that May was the only one in the room who smokes, the girls confront her at her dormitory and threaten to inform the dean. May blanches. "If the news of May's smoking came up before the faculty board, she would be expelled." (Neither locking Shirley in the Horler Mansion, however, nor pushing Josephine down the stairs, is suggested to be sufficiently severe.) The threat is enough for May. "'I promise I won't [smoke again],' May said beseechingly. 'I know I haven't been the right kind of a student. I've broken a lot of rules and regulations—and I'm sorry, truly I am. I didn't dream that my carelessness might have serious results.'" The girls offer May a chance to "reform," tell the dean of the fire without mentioning May's involvement, and head back to Chadwick Hall to sleep.
By the concluding chapter is it June, "and time to part for the summer vacation." Beverly has been elected class president for the coming year. "She was so typically the American College Girl. Her warm-heartedness and sense of fair play and good sportsmanship had won for her an army of friends. It was no wonder, when everyone loved her, that she should have been chosen as their leader. It would have been more to wonder at if she didn't." Junior thus comes to an end, promising "new and exciting adventures" in Beverly Gray, Senior.
Beverly Gray, Senior
Beverly's final chapter at Vernon College forms the basis for Beverly Gray, Senior, the fourth and final work in Clair Blank's 1934 breeder set. Sports related tribulations, commencement activities, and Shirley's fame-induced snobbishness form an undercurrent to the two main plot pieces. First, a film company's arrival at the college allows Beverly to produce a screenplay and Shirley to star in a movie, even as a second company attempts to sabotage the production. Second, Shirley is kidnapped after the filming and held for ransom; Beverly, although for the first time in the series not kidnapped herself, is briefly held at gunpoint during the rescue. Meanwhile, Anne becomes engaged, and, as the Alpha Delta girls prepare for graduation they induct a group of six Juniors, formerly rivals for campus popularity, providing that the sorority will live another year.
As promised the previous term, Senior opens with the arrival of the Forsythe Film Company at Vernon College to shoot a "college picture," in return for which the school will receive money to build "a new indoor swimming pool for the students." "Directors, actors, [and] cameramen" all descend upon the town, alongside the star Marcia Lyman, a "dark beauty" and "dazzling figure" fresh from Hollywood. The only thing left behind appears to be a screenplay; rather than using the creation of a professional screenwriter, the crew appears content to sit tight in Vernon for "two weeks" pending "an honorary competition contest" among the girls of the college, to be judged by a panel consisting of the dean, two faculty members, and Mr. Forsythe himself. "The winning story, if worthy, would be the one to be filmed on the campus" (though no contingency plans are mentioned should the entries all be unworthy). Each of the six Alpha Delta girls put pen to paper, with only Beverly and Lenora following through to completion. Beverly's screenplay, Stepping Stone, takes first place, while Lenora's A Senior's Dilemma, or They Shall Not Pass, "deserves honorable mention."
A snag hits Beverly's newfound fame the very next day, when Marcia Lyman leaves "the movie company flat" to take "a new contract with a much higher salary" from Cordial Pictures Company. Mr. Forsythe declares that "I guess there is nothing to do but to load our stuff back into our car and go to Hollywood," and crisis looms. "Then Lenora had a brilliant idea." Lenora suggests to Mr. Forsythe that Shirley "could do it," and he proclaims before even meeting her that she "might be material for a new star." This she is. Overcoming initial nervousness—"Don't be a Calamity Jane," Lenora urges—she takes the "screen test" in "Mr. Forsythe's improvised office in the private railway coach" and finds immediate success. "'My dear, let me congratulate you,' he said finally after the film had ended. 'You have the makings of a great star. You shall play the lead in this film, and we will draw up a contract for you to come to Hollywood.'" Star and story set, film production begins. "The story of the picture was the story of a young writer, played by the leading man, Conway Grant, who came to the little college town looking for material for his next novel. He met a college senior, played by Shirley, and various complications arose from their acquaintance. It was an interesting, adventurous plot, and the characters were vivid and alive. Other Vernon girls had small parts, and among them was Lois, who was to play the part of Shirley's chum."
The succeeding chapters reveal Shirley's success going to her head, and the remaining Alpha girls butting heads with a group of six juniors on campus. The "rush of success" is "a little too much for Shirley." Within two weeks she becomes "reserved, aloof, almost cross"; "[w]hether she considered herself above them they couldn't decide, but she acted as though she did." Hanging out more and more with the leading man, and less and less with her former friends, the newly "high-hat" Shirley threatens to "resign" from the Alpha Delta Sorority. A conciliatory Beverly receives nothing but a threat to "have my room changed." Meanwhile, a second campus sextet—Connie Elwood, Kathleen Ryan, Ada Collins, Evelyn DeLong, Virginia Harris, and Phyllis Tanner—"rival the Alphas in popularity" while creating "mischief" about the college. These "campus enemies" give Beverly a particular "headache," for in addition to being the senior class president, she is made "second in charge of [Chadwick] Hall" to Mrs. Dennis. Beverly must deal with their "fancied wrong[s]," and serve as enforcer when they threaten to break the rules. A freshman complains of them "playing pranks," and Beverly must interrupt a "rousing good time" causing an "uproarious racket." Beverly has "no real authority, just enough to make it difficult"; between her responsibilities and her strained relationships, she is "working too hard" and left exhausted.
The middle section of Senior is defined by a series of episodic events. A détente emerges between the six seniors and the six juniors, with Connie promising to "do our part" to "keep things peaceful." Shirley, who has apparently supplanted Beverly as the "shining light on the basketball team," refuses to let the senior-junior game interfere with her filming and subsequently watches from the stands as the seniors lose by a single point. Connie's contingent crashes the Halloween "Fiction Dance" dressed as "Robin Hood and five of his merry men," copying the Alphas' move from Freshman to prove themselves "worthy" of "membership in [the] august body." Jim, last seen leaving for an engineering job in Wyoming, returns to Renville from a job well done only to have his Christmas Eve proposal declined by Beverly. A movie "camera [is] mysteriously smashed"; Cordial Pictures Company is suspected of "trying to stop production on the picture"; Beverly and Lenora catch one "Mr. Smith" attempting to "climb in the window" of the Forsythe Film Company's railway coach; and the next day finds the door "broken open" and "three rolls of film" missing. Having followed Mr. Smith to the Wildon Hotel the previous night, Beverly and Lenora go back and gain entrance to his room through the fire escape. There they discover "three black boxes piled together . . . far back in one corner" of the closet. "'The film!' cried Lenora. 'We have saved the day!'" A brief detour beneath the bed, followed by a run "through the alley in back of the hotel" saves the girls from the "hotel authorities" and allows the film to be returned to Mr. Forsythe. "He must be Santa Claus in disguise," suggests Lenora, for he awards the school with "five thousand dollars above the amount for the swimming pool" in appreciation.
The "winter turn[s] to spring," and with it comes a new source of trouble: Shirley is kidnapped. Lost in thought while walking back to the college, thinking about how "utterly foolish" she had been and wishing "to be the best of friends with all of the Alphas once more," a car pulls to a stop in front of her. Shirley is no match for the two men who get out, "completely overpower" her, and "push her into the automobile," That night Beverly is in bed when something comes "hurtling through the window"; the piece of paper tied to a rock declares that Shirley has been kidnapped, and demands "ten thousand dollars from her parents." Beverly informs Lenora, Rosalie, Miss Wilder, Mrs. Dennis and the Parkers; beyond that they resolve to "circulate the word that Shirley is confined to her room with a cold." In two days time Beverly and Lenora place the ransom money in "a hollow tree stump" located "thirty paces to the east" of the Horler Mansion. They then hide in the house, watching the stump from the upstairs "side bedroom." The kidnappers arrive in a coupé, leaving it long enough for Beverly to depart the mansion and climb in the "large luggage carrier in the rear." "This certainly wasn't a comfortable way to ride." Over bumps and ruts the car travels "for hours," traveling "at least fifty miles from Vernon"; Beverly forces herself to remain "perfectly quiet," lest she be discovered and forced "to walk back to Vernon." An "old house," "three stories" tall with shades "drawn tight to shut out prying eyes," is the destination. Beverly waits for the men to enter, then follows through the back door. Inside she overhears the men gloating over their money and planning to "deliver another note demanding twenty-five thousand." Climbing the stairs, she encounters a locked room on the second floor. "Who is it? What do you want?" Shirley "tremble[s]" as Beverly unlocks the door. The two run descend the stairs, hiding in "the enveloping folds of a tapestry" when one of the kidnappers goes to check on Shirley. From there they dash to the car, driving off and leaving the men "dancing like wild Indians."
Shirley's kidnappers do not waste much time dancing. Rather, they call the police in a neighboring "little suburban down," telling them to be on the lookout for a "stolen car." Shirley and Beverly are thus soon pulled over and informed that their "father told us you took the car and were running away," and that the police "are to hold you until he gets here." "It was a brilliant play on the kidnaper's part to have thought of having them arrested! It seemed like a chapter of a detective story. The villains of the play had gotten the police, unwittingly, it was true, to aid them in their plot." At the police station they decline to call Miss Wilder; despite her knowing of Shirley's situation, it is somehow figured that "if we call the school, it will mean a lot of publicity for it, and the Dean wouldn't like that." Some dallying ensues until Shirley convinces the policemen to call her father, now in Vernon. He is unable to arrive before the kidnappers "swagger" in, however, claiming to be "friends" of the girls "running away from [their] parents." One man talks to the police chief while the other walks to the girls, "a revolver in his hand," and threatens them to back up the story. Beverly instead says the truth to the chief—"'They want to kidnap us again,' Beverly said recklessly. 'The story we told you when the policeman brought us here is true. Every word of it! Right now this man is threatening me with a gun!'"—and jumps "violently to one side," narrowly escaping the bullet that goes "speeding harmlessly past her." Shirley's father arrives unseen but is overpowered. Beverly, Shirley, Mr. Parker and the police chief are thus held at gunpoint, until Beverly edges around the men, takes a flashlight from her pocket, and thrusts "it against the back of the man before her with a stern command to put up his hands." Mr. Parker and the chief use this distraction to throw themselves upon the kidnappers: one is handcuffed, and the other bolts for the exit.
The ensuing car chase is memorialized on the dust jacket. The kidnapper jumps into his car, most recently driven by Shirley and Beverly, while those girls, along with Mr. Parker, pile into the police chief's car. "Through the streets of the little town they raced, leaving pedestrians staring after them in bewilderment." Around corners and through intersections they follow; the chase only comes to an end when a truck looms "up out of the night," broadsiding the kidnapper's car and flipping it over. Behind it, the pursuing car crashes into a tree. The kidnapper is pulled out of the wreckage, and, "totally subdued," placed in the police car. "After several futile attempts the engine spluttered into action," and the car is guided back to the station. There the police chief departs with the kidnapper, leaving Mr. Parker to drive the girls back to Vernon. Shirley and Beverly regale with stories of "their exciting adventures" before going to "bed, tired but still a little thrilled at the thought of their evening's excitement."
Apologies, tennis, and commencement activities fill up the remainder of the spring term. Shirley gradually makes amends with the girls she had previously "snubbed" and "treated shamefully," apologizing for having been "the most conceited snob on campus." Beverly "resign[s] from the tennis team," ostensibly because she does not have "the time to devote to practice." The resignation is also for "other reasons," she admits; they remain unsaid, but are probably intended either to make Shirley feel better about having quit basketball the previous semester, or to get Shirley to acknowledge her mistake. Indeed, soon after Shirley entreats her not to "make the mistake I made," Beverly changes her tune and her resignation is forgotten. "'Yyppee!' Lenora tossed the pillows into the air. 'Make way for the champions!'" The "championship tennis match between Vernon College and Wayne Seminary" is thus won on "the first of June," two matches to one. Anne and Kathleen Ryan drop "the first preliminary match" 6–4, 6–5, 6–4, and after the next two Vernon girls win the second match, Beverly and Connie play a "final and deciding match." They drop their first two sets, then rally back in the third despite Beverly twisting her ankle. During the "seven-minute rest" between sets Shirley comes into the locker room to apologize for having "behaved like a tyrant," then leaves Beverly and Connie to finish up their match. The Wayne girls "had played hard and fast, never meaning the match to run the full five sets"; after dropping the fourth set it is Beverly's "slow net ball that barely skim[s] the net" that gives Vernon the championship "silver loving cup." The exertion is too much for Beverly, who briefly collapses afterwards, but "a few minutes' rest" and she is back on court to receive the trophy.
The six seniors and six juniors have all mended their ties by the end of the year, allowing the latter to join the Alphas as "full-fledged members." From there the chapter titles tell the story: The Senior Prom, Senior Dinner, Commencement, and Auld Lang Syne. Jim and Tommy join in for the former festivities, held in the "ballroom of the Vernon country club," where Beverly again rebuffs Jim's advances. "'Have—have you thought at all about what I told you on Christmas Eve?' he asked slowly. 'No,' she said promptly. 'I don't want to. Please Jim, I thought you promised not to mention it again.'" The senior dinner at Weller's features a speech by Shirley, reformed valedictorian, and a paean by Beverly to "the ideals and traditions" of Vernon College. Commencement ensues the following week, marking "the end of Senior Road." Beverly resolves to "devote my time to stories," perhaps "even try to write a play." Shirley's aim is to forsake the "endless teas and . . . boresome people" of society, seek out Andrew T. Crandall from Freshman, and see if he will offer "a part in his show." "Lois wants to sketch," while Rosalie "would like to go to a conservatory and continue her music."
The final chapter, Auld Lang Syne, opens back in Renville. Jim has "unenthusiastically" accepted "a job in South America" to construct a "canal of some sort," a commitment of up to a year that will prevent him from wooing Beverly. The department of love is more gracious to Tommy, who announces to the group that "Anne has promised to marry me." "Three weeks later the little church on the hill was the scene of the simple but impressive ceremony that joined the two young people together for all time." The newly expanded Alpha Delta Sorority, along with the Lucky Circle, all join in the festivities before Anne and Tommy depart on honeymoon to "the Golden west." "'I wonder who will be next?' Connie Elwood murmured, smiling on them. 'Not me!' declared Lenora with such vigor that the rest laughed. 'Me for the life of a sailor . . . you know, a girl in every port. My motto is a boy in every town.'"
Beverly Gray at the World's Fair
Beverly Gray at the World's Fair, the sixth work by Blank, was issued for a short window from 1935 to 1938 before being dropped from the series. Because of fears that the book's setting would seem dated, publication of World's Fair was ceased after Grosset & Dunlap acquired the rights to the Beverly Gray books in 1938. Due to this limited printing run it is the scarcest of the 26 books.
World's Fair sees Beverly travel with a coterie of friends to the 1933–34 Chicago World's Fair. After Lois departs to Paris, where she has won "an art contest" with "a year's free study" as the prize, Lenora and Connie travel by train to visit Virginia, who lives in Chicago with her aunt and uncle. Although Beverly initially has to stay behind and work, the very next day her editor assigns her to write "a series of feature articles" on the fair for "the Sunday magazine section." She flies out that day with Larry, who is coincidentally headed to Chicago, "and then points West," for his work with the Secret Service.
Some days after joining forces in Chicago, the four girls witness the murder of a high diver, Paul Graham, during a show at the lagoon theater. Paul fails to surface following his "famous three somersault dive," and it emerges that he was "shot with a high powered air rifle." Suspicion falls on John Cummings, described as the "best friend" of the Grahams and their late uncle, and for whom Beverly harbors immediate misgivings. "There is something about him that makes me mistrust him," she tells Lenora. "He reminds me of a snake." Lenora resolves to "follow him like his shadow" with her "Cine-Kodak eight," and soon thereafter films him loosening the wires on a trapeze about to be used by Paul's sister, June. Before the girls can take the footage to the police, Paul's brother George is attacked by lion and suffers a "few scratches" after somebody "file[s] the lock" on a lion cage where he works as a trainer. (This is not the last lion attack in the book, for towards the end of the book another one manages to slip out and sink its claws "deep into [Beverly's] shoulder" before it can be subdued.) Despite the footage Cummings remains free, leading Beverly and Lenora to sneak into his hotel room in search of evidence. Hidden inside his chimney they discover a violin case, empty except for a single bullet. Cummings sees them as they depart, however, and that night warns Beverly that "[i]f you play with fire you must expect to get burned." These words prove prescient the next day when, relaxing at Lake Geneva, the girls have their motorboat "rammed" by another and are forced to swim an unconscious Beverly back to shore. Before impact Beverly catches "a clear, distinct glimpse of the face of the man at the wheel of the boat," and believes it to be Cummings. He is finally caught in the next chapter, after Beverly observes him leaving a pawn ticket in June's dressing room trunk. This appears to be an effort to frame her, for upon redemption of the ticket Beverly and Virginia are handed the murder weapon, "a gun, not small enough to be a revolver and not quite long enough for a rifle. . . . It looked like a sawed off shotgun." They take the gun to the police, where "[e]verything was carefully considered and they all agreed that Cummings was the murderer." He was left out of the will of the Grahams' uncle, it turns out, but stood to gain the share willed to Paul, June and George should anything have happened to all three. Officers are sent to arrest Cummings, who "confesse[s] when confronted with the evidences of his guilt." Beverly is left to "break the news" for her paper.
Several subplots share space with the murder of Paul Graham in World's Fair. Significant ink is expended on the many wonders and exhibits at the fair, some of it copied word for word from the fair's official guidebook, and Shirley's acting career encounters both downfall and revival. Beverly runs into Shirley on her first day in Chicago, discovering her to be "out of a job," with "scarcely any money and no friends." She can ill afford to eat and is about to be evicted, yet refuses to take any money from Beverly and moves out when she discovers Beverly has spoken to her landlord and paid the rent. Shirley's luck seems to change for the better, however, for later on Beverly receives the money in the mail with a note saying only "Thanks so much," and Virginia spots Shirley in "a big limousine." Shirley turns out to be "Dale Arden," a former understudy who "stepped up and did the performance ten times better than the star" when "the star was suddenly taken ill on opening night." (Shirley remembered the details slightly differently, relating in World Cruise that "the star suddenly broke her ankle the night before the opening.") Later on Shirley herself is taken ill during a performance, collapsing due to exhaustion and overwork. Beverly prescribes her a trip to "get away" and "lounge lazily about in the sun," and Roger proposes "a trip around the world" on his yacht the Susabella. So is born the inspiration for Beverly Gray on a World Cruise, promising a "journey into alien lands" with "strange adventures amid new scenes and faces."
Originally published only a year after the fair ended, World's Fair brought to bear recent memories when released. By the time Grosset & Dunlap acquired the Beverly Gray series in 1938, however, the Chicago World's Fair was receding further into the past and preparations had begun for the 1939–40 New York World's Fair. "Because [Beverly Gray at the World's Fair] specifically referred to the Chicago Fair and work on the New York Fair was underway," Blank's editor wrote to her in a 1941 letter, "we felt that readers might be disappointed to discover that Beverly had been to the old fair – not the New York one." As a general policy, her editor went on, when Grosset foresaw "a long and steady sale," it sought to "avoid having anything in the stories that might date them." This policy would not prove to withstand the entry by the United States into World War II, but was sufficient to end publication of the original sixth work in the Beverly Gray series. The original seventh and eighth works, Beverly Gray on a World Cruise and Beverly Gray in the Orient, were renumbered 6 and 7. Beverly Gray on a Treasure Hunt, the first work published by Grosset, became book number 8.
For collectors of the Beverly Gray series, World's Fair is generally the most challenging and expensive book to acquire. Its expense, however, somewhat belies its true scarcity. World's Fair went through multiple printings by A. L. Burt from 1935 to 1937, and was thereafter reprinted by Blue Ribbon Books from 1937 to 1938. It is thus theoretically no scarcer than any other Beverly Gray A. L Burt or Blue Ribbon edition, (excepting the first four works, which began printing one year earlier), and considerably more common than certain other series published by A. L. Burt.
Beverly Gray on a World Cruise
Originally published as the seventh title in the Beverly Gray series, World Cruise was recast as the sixth work when Grosset & Dunlap acquired the series and halted publication of World's Fair. This cancelled title nevertheless continued to exert its pull on the succeeding books; World's Fair began a trend towards plots focused on travel as much as mystery, a trend reflected, and intensified, by World Cruise. Beverly and Co. prepare to set sail aboard the yacht Susabella as World Cruise opens, embarking upon a four-book circumnavigation of the globe. Mystery and adventure continue to remain important themes—a villainous count threatens the party after Jim comes into possession of one-half of a treasure map, and Beverly suffers the usual barrage of misfortune—yet in most other respects the book resembles a travelogue. From New York to Jerusalem, 251 pages transport Beverly nearly a quarter of the way across the world, while intervening stops, in London, Le Havre, Paris, Flanders Field, Berne, Grindelwald, Cairo, and Bethlehem, serve to celebrate the far places of the world.
The title of Beverly Gray on a World Cruise is an accurate one. Joining Roger Garrett and his aunt Miss Ernwood—"a nominal chaperone, who never gets in the way of the story"—on his yacht the Susabella, Beverly, Lenora, Shirley, Jim and Paul Benson set sail to London with no final destination or end date in sight. There they are met by Roger's friend Sir Terence "Terry" Cartwright, "a jolly, good-looking young man" who "wore his clothes well, had money, was not a bit uppish with his title, and had excellent taste in neckties." Beverly, "a working girl" who constantly runs "uptown, downtown, and across town" while reporting for the Tribune, is initially hesitant; though she earns "an income from [her] short stories," her financial stability depends on the sale of her manuscript, already rejected once, to a publisher. Ultimately the second rejection actually spurs her to "revolt." Quitting her job mid-week, Beverly elects "to hang her conscience in a dark closet and forget about it." Three days later the Susabella leaves New York. That day Beverly narrowly escapes a "menacing" shark, but the real excitement waits three more days, for when a storm washes Jim overboard. Despair is particularly acute for Beverly, whom Shirley believes "has been in love with Jim all the time—and didn't know it." Mourning turns to joy with the passage of another three days, at which point Jim, having been discovered by a "tramp steamer" apparently sans radio set, meets the Susabella at the London docks.
The story of Jim's rescue and reappearance fuels the remainder of World Cruise, and much of the succeeding two books. As he tells it, after being swept over the railing by a "terribly big wave," the yacht day hidden in a fog. Some hours later, clinging to a piece of driftwood, he was rescued by the a crew that seemed drawn "from the pirate stories." Jim was locked into a cabin, his contact limited to "Slim," a crew member who "had only signed on as steward to work his way back to England." Slim confided that he is in possession of a treasure map, and, fearing for his life should his secret be discovered, found it prudent to bestow upon Jim one half of the map until they set foot on dry land. The first night in London thus sees Jim and six others disembarking for "The Purple Dragon," a seedy bar in Limehouse, "hotbed of crime, river noises, and frequent fogs." Slim enters the bar; the lights go out; "[s]creams, angry shouts, . . . a heavy groan and a thud" follow; and when the lights come one, Slim is on the floor with "a knife through his heart. Murdered!" Slim's half of the map falls into the permanent possession of Beverly's party, promising adventure and the search for treasure.
The remainder of World Cruise consists of travels through six countries while followed by those seeking Slim's half of the map. London sees Beverly, Shirley and Lenora go to the "famous Rag Market," a story plagiarized from Mabel Herbert Urner, and Beverly runs into one Count Alexis de Frachiny, whose charm quickly turns Jim jealous; his charm is such that when she stumbles into him again that night, she accepts his invitation to go dancing and does not return to the Susabella until "early in the morning." A boat and a train ride later in Paris, the eight Susabella passengers reunite with Lois, "studying art in Paris" on a scholarship, and Anselo, who upon a chance encounter in a café informs Beverly he has "not seen the gypsies since the night your friends rescued you" in Junior, and has "played my violin" since. They also run into Count Alexis multiple times. When Beverly and Lenora forget the name of their hotel he conveniently shows up, and even more conveniently saw them "this afternoon when I registered" at the same hotel, and when Beverly espies the Count "lounging in a doorway across the street" through Anselo's window, she blows off Aneslo's warning that "[h]e is a dangerous man" without thinking to ask why. An Armistice Day trip to Flanders Field finds the grave site of Roger's brother George, who "ran off and joined the Army" at seventeen, while a trip to Switzerland provides mild adventure when Beverly and Shirley are lost in a snowstorm in Grindelwald. Beverly there sees "all the sights that were to bee seen": the "famous fountains, the Bear, the 'Man who eats the children,' and the Sharpshooter; the old Bear Gardens; the five-hundred-year old Cathedral with the beautiful carvings and tinted glass," not to mention Count Alexis, who again pops up unannounced. The Count finally tips his hand back in France when, driving Beverly to Le Havre to embark for Cairo, they weather a storm in a country château. Beverly both overhears him discussing his attempts to get the treasure map from her, and finally recognizes him as a man she saw at "The Purple Dragon" shortly before Slim's murder.
Menaced with weapon
The Beverly Gray series was published in the United States from 1934 to 1955. Four publishers were responsible for the series output during this time: A. L. Burt (1934–1937), Blue Ribbon Books (1937–1938), Grosset & Dunlap (1938–1954) and McLoughlin Bros. (1955).
A. L. Burt (1934–1937)
A. L. Burt was responsible for publishing the first eight titles in the series, from Beverly Gray, Freshman through Beverly Gray in the Orient. The first four titles were copyrighted on June 1, 1934 and issued concurrently as a "breeder set," a common practice at the time. Books five and six (Career and World's Fair) followed in similar fashion, both copyrighted on June 14, 1934, while the next two works followed in yearly intervals. Although A. L. Burt's president retired and sold the company to Blue Ribbon Books in early March 1937, the copyright for the final book published by A. L. Burt, Beverly Gray in the Orient, was actually issued on April 15 of that year.
The A. L. Burt editions had a uniform appearance. Approximately 8 inches tall and 1.5 inches thick, they were composed of gray cloth boards with black lettering, and supplied with light blue endpapers with an etching of buildings. The publisher was denoted on the lower spine as "A. L. BURT/COMPANY."
Blue Ribbon Books (1937–1938)
Blue Ribbon Books announced the purchase of A. L. Burt on March 4, 1937. Robert de Graff, president of Blue Ribbon from May 28 of the previous year until February of the next, described the purchase as "supplementary," bringing together "the fiction list of the A. L. Burt Company and the non-fiction books issued under the Blue Ribbon imprint." Taking over approximately 2,000 titles from A. L. Burt, Blue Ribbon indicated its intention to continue "the Burt name" on "fiction and juvenile titles"; each Beverly Gray book was thus referred to as "A Burt Book" on the title page. The company had to that point been a reprint specialist, and, at least vis-à-vis the Beverly Gray series, its specialty did not change. No new titles were commissioned for the series by Blue Ribbon, although from 1937 to 1938 they reprinted the eight works already issued by A. L. Burt. From April 15, 1937 (Orient, A. L. Burt) until October 15, 1938 (Treasure Hunt, Grosset & Dunlap) it would be seventeen months until another Beverly Gray book was copyrighted.
The initial Beverly Gray books issued by Blue Ribbon used the same stock as the A. L. Burt editions. The books were bound in cloth boards of the same color and size, while the copyright remained under the name of A. L. Burt. The only changes were to the spine, where "B U R T" replaced "A. L. BURT/COMPANY," and to the title page, where "A Burt Book/BLUE RIBBON BOOKS, Inc./New York" replaced "A. L. BURT COMPANY, publishers/New York Chicago."
Blue Ribbon began using colored boards after the initial printing runs with gray boards, perhaps reflecting the exhaustion of binding materials acquired from A. L. Burt. The size and composition of the books remained the same.
Grosset and Dunlap (1938–1954)
Grosset & Dunlap purchased the "entire juvenile business" of Blue Ribbon Books in mid-1938. By that point Grosset was publishing such successful series as Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, The Dana Girls, Tom Swift Sr., and Judy Bolton as part of "one of the largest and most active juvenile lists in the business." Many of these series were produced in partnership with the Stratemeyer Syndicate, but a number of independent series, such as the Beverly Gray and Judy Bolton mysteries, and later such series as Ken Holt and Rick Brant, also enjoyed decades of publication. The Beverly Gray series would last until 1954 with Grosset & Dunlap, then see one final year of publication with its McLoughlin Bros. division.
With the purchase of Blue Ribbon Books came "their stock" of Beverly Gray books. The first Grosset & Dunlap editions were thus actually Blue Ribbon books with Grosset & Dunlap dust jackets. The later Blue Ribbon formats—those printed after the formats using gray or light purple boards—are typically found with Grosset & Dunlap instead of Blue Ribbon Books dust jackets. A number of hybrid printings next emerged as the Blue Ribbon stock was variously exhausted. Multiple copies of Junior were printed with boards and pages acquired from Blue Ribbon; A. L. Burt was named on the copyright pages, Blue Ribbon Books on the title pages, and Grosset & Dunlap on the spines and dust jackets. Orient saw similar treatment, with leftover Blue Ribbon pages bound into green boards produced by Grosset & Dunlap, while some copies of Senior had Blue Ribbon pages bound into orange Grosset & Dunlap boards. Other examples of hybrid printings likely exist, although they are infrequently found; their existence reflects not the production of entire printing runs, but rather the using up of leftover materials.
McLoughlin Bros. (1955)
In June 1954, Grosset & Dunlap purchased "the complete stock and goodwill of McLoughlin Bros," a "publisher of toy books since 1828." McLoughlin thereafter became "a division of Grosset & Dunlap," with the Clover Books imprint used to publish the Beverly Gray series. Clover Books was primarily used as "a reprint line for juvenile titles that were still profitable enough to merit publication in a cheap format but were no longer selling sufficiently well to continue in their original hardback edition," and the switch to this imprint portended the fate of the Beverly Gray series. Only one more book would be published before the series was cancelled.
McLoughlin printed Beverly Gray's Surprise, the final work in the series, in 1955. It additionally reprinted the previous nine books (Journey through Scoop), which had originally been issued by Grosset & Dunlap. The ten books were numbered from G-16 (Journey) to G-25 (Surprise), with G-1 through G-15, representing the books not reprinted by McLoughlin, left unassigned.
From 1944 until 1970, translations of several Beverly Gray books were published in Iceland and in Norway. Twelve works were initially published by the Icelandic publisher Norðri. The first of these, Beverly Gray nýliði (Freshman), was translated by Gudjon Gudjonsson, with the eleven succeeding titles translated by Kristmundur Bjarnason. The first four translations (Freshman through Senior) were later reprinted by another Icelandic publisher, Iðunn. Either intentionally or mistakenly, both Norðri and Iðunn used the pen name "Clarie Blank" rather than Blank's true first name. Between the publication and republication of these Icelandic translations, seven Norwegian titles were issued by the publisher Forlagshuset.
*Although the books were numbered, no #8 was ever issued.