Saturday, 15 March 2008

Linda Craig

I have just been reading the Linda Craig (original) series and cannot believe how much I enjoyed them!

I vaguely remember having a few of these books when I was younger but cannot really remember ever reading them......I would imagine maybe the mystery element put me off as I liked 'pure' pony books by far the most. However having acquired one in a lot with some other books I decided to give them a go and was thoroughly hooked! I would liken them very much to Nancy Drew on horseback and until it was recently pointed out to me had no idea that they were a Stratemeyer Syndicate product, hence the similarity and irony of my comparison. So far I have read the first 10 of the 11 volumes in the original 'Mysteries' series with the elusive Scorpio so far eluding me. The first six titles were published by Doubleday & Company between 1962 and 1964. The series was reprinted in paperback between 1982 and 1984 when five additional titles were added.

In 1988, Simon & Schuster revived and revised the series in paperback. The original eleven volumes were dropped and twelve new titles were issued between 1988 and 1990, albeit sadly not in the UK. I currently am eagerly awaiting the arrival 7 of these titles from Stateside. From what I can gather although they main characters haven't changed it seems Linda may have a new equine partner.....but I will have to wait and see.

The Linda Craig Mysteries see 16 year old Linda Craig as our heroine. Recently orphaned, along with her 18 year old brother, Bob, she has come to live at Ranch Del Sol with her grandparents, Dona and Broncho. The first book, The Palomino Mystery, introduces the family and also tells of how Linda acquires Chica D'Oro, her palomino filly. This is where I had to keep reminding myself it was only a story as my blood did boil at several points due to a (I hope) blatant lack of equine knowledge. Chica was introduced as a 2 year old unbroken filly, who days later was doing full days trails and was beautifully trained!!! She proceeded to become a champion show horse in preceding books but as Linda never aged a day i assume she didn't either.....maybe rules are different in USA but I thought horses under 4 couldn't be shown under saddle? All very off the point but starting very young horses and expecting too much from youngsters (by this I mean any under age of maturity ie 7/8 years) is a personal pet hate and something I am strongly opposed to. However very much like Peter Grey's Kit Hunter books, when you get over this, what you are left with are well written and enjoyable stories. The First six are by far superior (IMO) and the last four become a little contrived and far fetched almost. I guess as with so amny other series of books overkill occured. I do hope that isn't the case with the 'Adventures' books. Only time will tell.

Although the books were little changed for the UK market as you can see from the pictures every trace of 'western' riding/theme was hidden on the covers of the UK books, although the internal pics showed Linda/Chica in full western tack/clothing. I am assuming the original dust wrappers would have made an English audience think they were buying a western?....but are far superior. The publishers also added a glossary, which i must admit is useful and a nice touch as there were several references to/terms completely alien to me.


Anonymous said...

unfortunately in the US, many horses ARE shown under saddle as 2yos - which of course means they are broken and schooled intensively at scarily-young ages ...

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