Thanks to the Gutenberg Project for digitizing serious literature… and lots of other things. This short book is youth literature for young girls for the first half of the 20th century. It features the fearless Dorothy Dixon, a teenager who is certified pilot, who can sale boats, has a good knowledge of jiu jitsu, but who also goes for a compact and lipstick to fix her face at every lull in the action. And while she is fearless, she also sobs hysterically on the shoulder of her friend Bill Bolton when he shows up to rescue her from a difficult situation.
As in many youth novels I have read, the role of parents is minimal. In fact both Bill Bolton and Dorothy Dixon have only one parent, a widowed father. Dorothy’s father seems to trust her with anything, such as flying airplanes, carrying a Colt revolver, taking off without warning, not coming home for the night and not communicating with him daily, which is what most parents would expect of children that age.
Bill Bolton is a bit older and is employed as a Secret Service agent. While this book features very concrete descriptions of flying airplanes, operating motor boats and navigating the shallow waters around Long Island, there is no explanation of how and why a Secret Service agent would seek the advice and help of a teenage girl, no matter how bright and resourceful. In any case, this is still a fun read, as long as you can suspend your expectations of realistic behaviors.
According to some comments seen on the web, Dorothy Wayne is a pseudonym used by Noel Sainsbury who wrote a series of books featuring Bill Bolton, the idea being that a female author would appeal more to a young female audience. This would be similar to the pseudonymous Carolyn Keene, written by a whole slew of authors, both male and female. Also “famous” for this scheme is the use of the name Lisbeth Werner by two Danish male authors who wrote a series about a young girl named Puck (whom I obsessed over as a girl). However, one detail casts some doubt over the identity of Dorothy Wayne as Noel Sainsbury: the book is dedicated to Winkie, “who has had a finger in each of her Mummy’s books”.
Wayne, Dorothy. Dorothy Dixon and the Mystery Plane. Goldsmith, 1933.