Mexican Mystery Stories for Girls   

Mexican Mystery Stories for Girls
by Helen Randolph

This three title series was originally published as a breeder set in 1936 by A. L. Burt under the series name Mexican Mystery Stories for Girls.  The series was reprinted by Saalfield during the 1940s under the name Randolph Series.
Titles in the Mexican Mystery Stories Series:

  1. The Secret of Casa Grande, 1936
  2. The Mystery of Carlitos, 1936
  3. Crossed Trails in Mexico, 1936

Helen Randolph is a pseudonym for Virginia Fairfax and Helen Allan Ripley.  Ripley lived in Mexico as a child and came back to the United States after her marriage.  The two women led a Girl Scouts troop and became interested in writing due to the interest their scouts had in the stories they told while on camping trips.  Fairfax wrote the six volume Girl Scouts Mystery Series which was also published by A. L. Burt.

The Mexican Mystery Stories for Girls series follows the adventures that are shared by Jo Ann Cutrer, her friend Peggy, and Peggy's old friend Florence Blackwell as the three girls explore Mexico.  Jo Ann is adventurous and always looking for a mystery to solve.  Florence is a native American who has lived half of her life in Mexico and speaks both English and Spanish fluently.  Florence proves to be a great aid to Jo Ann since she is able to speak both languages.  Peggy is more timid and tries unsuccessfully to convince Jo Ann to stay away from trouble.

The first book is set at Florence's home in Mexico, where Jo Ann notices a window to a mysterious hidden room and plans how to investigate.  The second book takes place at a rural home in the mountains, where the girls stay with Florence's mother who is recovering from a serious illness.  During their stay in the mountains, Jo Ann becomes interested in a native family and solves the mystery of a young boy's parentage.  During the final book, the girls travel through Mexico in their car while on the trail of smugglers.

Although short, this is a solidly strong series which should appeal to the reader of the early Nancy Drew books.

Source for author information:  University of Mississippi Archives and Special Collections

The below summaries are taken from the front flaps of the dust jackets.

  #1 The Secret of Casa Grande
Down into Mexico, the land of cactus and mystery, go Jo Ann and Peggy to spend their vacation visiting a school chum, Florence Blackwell.  The strange customs of the natives are a source of wonder and interest to the two girls.

One day Jo Ann notices that in the back wall there is a barred window which has no opening into any of the rooms in the ancient adobe house.  She determines to learn where the window leads, but the ever-watchful Felipe hinders her exploration plans.

Taking no heed of the dangers of her adventure, Jo Ann climbs to the roof, and then finds that she is marooned there during the terrific midday heat.

The Secret of Casa Grande
Finally, the three girls manage an entrance into the secret room.  The dangers they encounter there and the surprising discovery they make brings this mystery story to a thrilling and unexpected climax.
  #2 The Mystery of Carlitos
High in the mountains of Mexico, Jo Ann and Peggy spend a summer with Florence Blackwell and her invalid mother.

Near them lives a poor Mexican family which the girls befriend.  Jo Ann is curious about Carlitos, whose bright blue eyes contrast strangely with the brown eyes of his brothers and sisters.  The entire family lives in dread of a man they call the "mean boss."

One day Carlitos disappears mysteriously, and the three girls join in the search for the kidnapper.  They travel over a wild mountain trail during a violent storm and just as they are about to rescue Carlitos, they themselves are kidnapped and forced to enter an old deserted mine.

The Mystery of Carlitos
How they manage their escape and solve the mystery surrounding the blue-eyed Carlitos provides entertainment and excitement which no lover of mystery stories will want to miss.
  #3 Crossed Trails in Mexico
Jo Ann's love of adventure involves her and two school chums in a series of thrilling events in mysterious Mexico.

In "Jitters," their rattly old car, Jo Ann and Peggy and Florence are driving through Mexico.  With them are Carlitos and his aunt.  The party happens on a band of smugglers who are terrorizing the natives and underpaying them for their workmanship.

The girls expose themselves to many risks and are trapped in a mine while attempting to capture the smugglers.  Their anxiety is increased when the desperadoes threaten the life of a revenue officer who is trying to prevent the smugglers from taking their contraband goods across the border into Texas.

Crossed Trails in Mexico
A wild race over narrow mountains roads, with "Jitters" and the girls trying to outdistance the car of the smugglers brings this mystery story to a thrilling climax.
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