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Claire Birch

The Galloping Detective series by Claire Birch is now out of print, despite it being well received. Lucy Hill is a girl who wants to make horses her life’s work, hopefully as a professional rider, starting with working towards the Maclay medal. She doesn’t have a horse of her own, so has to do this through last minute rides at shows. On the way, she solves several mysteries. The series changes location and stables after the first book, when Linda’s parents divorce and she and her mother move.


Susan Bourgeau said: “The clash between the very good, solid stories, and characters and the rotten cover art might have doomed them... people attracted by the cover wouldn't care for the story, and the very people who would love the story would be put off by the cover art.”

 

The first books in the series were printed initially by Laurel Leaf. I haven’t been able to find any evidence of the first book, Triple Threat, appearing as a Laurel Leaf edition, but it does seem very unlikely that it didn’t. The last two titles I do not think were printed by Laurel Leaf. The only uniform edition is the one illustrated, printed by Dell. All the books are listed with the copyright belonging to Claire Merrill, so Claire Birch was presumably a pseudonym.

 

Finding the books: none of the books are now in print, but all are very easy (at the time of writing) to find in the US; very much less so in the UK.


Links and sources

Very many thanks to Susan Bourgeau, who provided all the information and pictures for this section.





The Galloping Detective

Triple Threat
Tight Spot
Collision Course
Double Danger

False Lead
Near Miss

High Stakes

Triple Threat
Dell, New York, 1991


“Lucy Hill loves riding, horse shows, and helping out in a tack shop with her best friend Jenny. One
day she spots a suspicious-looking customer. Soon after, the shop is broken into, but it seems
that nothing was taken. What could the mysterious stranger be looking for? Lucy has to unravel
this mystery fast, before something terrible happens to Jenny's family. Dangerous people are
watching the shop, just waiting... “

 


 



Tight Spot

Laurel Leaf, 1985
Dell, New York, 1991


“Lucy Hill learned to ride at Up and Down Farm, and the stable has always been the most
important place in her life. She's determined to become a championship rider, but when a series
of rumours, strange coincidences, and accidents threaten the stable, Lucy faces a more
immediate challenge. She must save Up and Down Farm! “

Collision Course
Laurel Leaf, 1985
Dell, New York,  1991


“Lucy"s parents are separated, and she has to move to New York City, and a whole new life. But
she still has her goal of becoming a champion rider. Then strange and frightening incidents start
occurring; could Lucy be a target?”





Near Miss

Dell, New York,  1992 

 

“Lucy's landed her dream summer job teaching riding to the Mosedale children on their family's
beautiful estate on Shelby Island. She likes the kids, and she's intrigued by their handsome cousin
Brett. There's only one problem: someone's trying to kill one of the Mosedale's. Could the rumours
of a treasure hidden in the house be true?”

 



High Stakes
Dell, New York,  1992



Are the Maclay Finals ahead, as Lucy’s always dreamed?

False Lead
Laurel Leaf, 1986

Dell, New York,  1991

“Riding outside New York City at Oak Ridge with a top-notch trainer means Lucy has to juggle

commuting from Manhattan, homework, and life at the stable - but it's worth it. Especially when
she starts dating Ken, the brother of one of her students. No matter how busy she is, Lucy can't
resist following up every lead to solve a series of robberies centering on the stable. Soon she
suspects that there's more than one mystery to solve at Oak Ridge - but the thieves have set up
some ominous "warnings" to frighten Lucy off their trail!”
 



 



 


 


 



Double Danger
Laurel Leaf, 1985
Dell, New York,  1991

“On vacation in Beverly Hills to visit her TV-producer father, Lucy's thrilled to act as a stunt rider in
his series, Malibu. She'll double for twenty-year-old Darci Rutland and play scenes with her
handsome co-star, Mark. Meanwhile, someone's pulling some dangerous stunts on the Malibu
set - the whole cast is in danger. As Darci's double, Lucy could be the next victim. Lucy decides to
find the culprit and prove herself as a rider, an actress, and a detective! “

Bibliography - horse books only