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Ann Sheldon & the Linda Craig Series

What a can of worms I opened up when I decided to add the Linda Craig series to the website. The series was produced in three bursts, and as the latest series completely superceded the first two, there are two Linda Craig # 1 etc and no, they are not the same book. The reading orders, as far as I have been able to work them out, are to the right.


All books do though feature Linda Craig and her palomino filly Chica. Linda and her brother Bob are orphans, who come to live on the Rancho Del Sol with their grandparents. Each book is a mystery story with a Western riding background. In the first series, Linda and Bob are 16 and 18, but in the third series years are ruthlessly chopped away from them and they are around the age of 10 (and Chica is renamed as Amber). Maybe this change in the characters’ ages reflected what Scholastic felt was the age of the pony book market.


Ann Sheldon is a composite - she does not exist. She is a creation of Stratemeyer Syndicates, responsible for the Nancy Drew series and numerous other well known and long running American series, ghost-written by a variety of authors. The only author I have been able to identify with any certainty is Alison Hart (Alice Leonhardt) who wrote five of the third series of books: Kathy in Charge, The Riding Club, A Horse for Jackie, The Glimmering Ghost and The Silver Stallion.


The author(s) of of the first two series remain a mystery. There were six titles in the first series of books, produced in the 1960s. These six were reprinted by Simon and Schuster between 1982 and 1984, and five new stories were then added to the series. These eleven stories (I’m not sure about Scorpio, which I can’t find referred to in the British Library, or on any booksearch site) were published in the UK by Armada in paperback, and as compilations by Diamond. That was the last the UK saw of the series; in 1988 Simon and Schuster published twelve new titles which only appear to have been published in the US. This last twelve behaved as if the previous books did not exist, and started numbering again from one.


Finding the books: Scorpio is very hard to find indeed (so hard, in fact, I begin to wonder if it exists at all). The hardbacks are not impossible, but more expensive than the freely available and generally very cheap paperbacks.


Links and sources

Series Books article on Linda Craig

Alice Leonhardt

A review of some of the books.
Terri Wear: Annotated Bibliography of Horse Books

Many thanks to Susan Bourgeau and Hannah Fleetwood for all their help with pictures and information.

Linda Craig and the Palomino Mystery

Doubleday, New York, 1962
Reprinted Wanderer Books, 1981
Armada, London, pb, 1982, illus St Ward 


 “While on a trip trying to discover what the mysterious coloured
lights are out in the desert, Linda meets Charlie and wishes that
she could buy his palomino filly.”


 



Linda Craig and the Clue on the Desert Trail

Doubleday, New York, 1962

Reprinted Wanderer Books, 1981
Armada, London, pb, 1982, Illus St Ward


“Linda buys a yellow clay horse because it reminds her of her
palomino Chica, but someone else wants the clay horse too,
and makes repeated attempts to get it from her.”

Linda Craig and the Secret of Rancho Del Sol

Doubleday 1963

Linda Craig and the Mystery of Horseshoe Canyon

Doubleday 1963

Linda Craig and the Secret of Rancho Del Sol

Doubleday, New York, 1963
Reprinted Wanderer Books, 1981
Armada, London, pb, 1982


“The Rancho del Sol is ransacked by a man who says that he
has a claim on the missing Perez jewels, so Linda, her filly
Chica, and her friends try to find out who he is.

Linda Craig and the Mystery of Horseshoe Canyon

Doubleday, New York, 1963
Reprinted Wanderer Books, 1981
Armada, London, pb, 1982


“When a thief escapes into the desert with the garnets stolen from
Mr Hamilton’s shop, Linda, Chica and her friends decide to
combine rounding up the wild donkeys with searching for the
thief.”

Linda Craig and the Mystery in Mexico

Doubleday, New York, 1964

Reprinted Wanderer Books, 1981
Armada, London, pb, 1983


“Linda and her palomino filly Chica are asked to ride in the
Mexican Fiesta de Cortes and while in Mexico, Linda solves
the mystery of a stream that is no longer where it is supposed
to be.

Linda Craig and the Ghost Town Treasure

Doubleday, New York, 1964

Reprinted Simon & Schuster, 1982

Armada, London, pb, 1983

“When Linda and her palomino filly Chica D’Oro and Linda’s
friends take over the riding instructor’s jobs at Saddle Creek
Camp because the original instructors left without warning,
the head teacher seems to resent their presence there.”

Bibliography - horse books only

The Second Collection of Stories

The Haunted Valley
Wanderer Books, 1982
Armada, London, pb, 1983


Lots of strange happenings in this title: Linda goes to investigate ghostly goings on
at a dude ranch, and odd happenings almost prevent her entering Chica in the
Parade Class at the horse show.


 



Secret of the Old Sleigh
Wanderer Books, 1983, pb
Armada, London, pb, 1983


Linda has borrowed an old sleigh for Chica to pull during the Christmas parade.
While she’s cleaning it, she finds an old journal and a black stone, so off she sets
to Montana to try and solve the mystery.

The Emperor’s Pony
Wanderer Books, 1983
Armada, London, pb, 1984


Linda sends her palomino pony Chica to Palomino Acres. Meanwhile, she goes to an
exhibition to see a jade model of a pony. Both the jade model and Linda’s beloved Chica
are stolen.

Phantom of Dark Oaks
Wanderer Books, 1984
Armada, London, pb, 1984, illus St Ward


Linda is in Georgia, riding with the Palomino Princesses Drill Team. Chica goes
missing (again), and there’s a robbery at Dark Oaks as well as plenty of other
strange goings on.

Search for Scorpio
Wanderer Books, 1984
possibly printed by Armada in 1984 - but no copy has yet turned up.


From Google Books: “While appearing at a horse show, Linda is entrusted with the care of a
mysterious young colt and becomes involved in a dangerous search when the colt is stolen.”

The Third Collection of Stories

Golden Secret
Simon & Schuster, Pocketbooks, NY, 1988


Linda’s parents had a deed, which has gone missing. She finds a clue to where it is in an old song
she finds in the attic, but it leads to somewhere she doesn’t expect: an abandoned gold mine.

A Star for Linda
Simon & Schuster, Pocketbooks, NY, 1988



It’s Fiesta Day, and Linda and Amber are taking part. Strange things are afoot: including a stagecoach
that seems to have vanished into thin air.

Linda Craig and the Secret of Rancho Del Sol

Doubleday 1963

The Silver Stallion

Author: Alison Hart
Simon & Schuster, Pocketbooks, NY, 1988


Paige Duvall and her white Arab stallion are coming to Rancho del Sol to practise for the
local horse show. Linda’s really looking forward to their visit, but when Paige arrives, it’s a
bitter disappointment. The last thing she wants to do is talk to Linda.

The Crystal Trail
Simon & Schuster, Pocketbooks, NY, 1988



Linda and Bob, and their horses Amber and Rocket are in Colorado for a riding camp. It’s all
going wonderfully until someone seems to have decided to spoil their fun.



 


 



The Glimmering Ghost

Author: Alison Hart
Simon & Schuster, Pocketbooks, NY, 1989


There’s a local legend about a ghostly horse and rider, and when Linda and Amber see figures who
could be them, they decide to investigate.

Linda Craig and the Secret of Rancho Del Sol

Doubleday 1963

The Ride to Gold Canyon
Simon & Schuster, Pocketbooks, NY, 1989



Four visitors from a Los Angeles pony club come to visit, and Linda takes them on a trip to the
Canyon. What they find there is danger and excitement.

A Horse for Jackie

Author: Alison Hart
Simon & Schuster, Pocketbooks, NY, 1989


Jackie is new, and Linda shows her what fun it is to ride. Jackie is desperate to learn, because
she’s hoping her rock star father, whom she never sees, will buy her a horse.

Compilations
Diamond Books, London, all pb, 1994


1. The Palomino Mystery, The Clue on the Desert Trail,
The Secret of the Rancho Del Sol

2. The Haunted Valley, The Secret of the Old Sleigh, The Emperor’s
Pony

3. The Mystery of Horseshoe Canyon, The Mystery in Mexico,
The Ghost Town Treasure

A Star in the Saddle
Simon & Schuster, Pocketbooks, NY, 1989


Something exciting is happening right next to the Rancho del Sol - Joanna Curtis, soap star,
is filming an episode of the soap next door. Linda soon believes that Joanna wants her beautiful
horse, Amber.


 



The Riding Club

Author: Alison Hart
Simon & Schuster, Pocketbooks, NY, 1989


Linda goes to an after school riding club, which she has enjoyed until a new teacher, who’s really
unpleasant, takes over. Linda has to choose between being teacher’s pet, or keeping her friends.



Linda Craig and the Secret of Rancho Del Sol

Doubleday 1963

Anything for Kelly
Simon & Schuster, Pocketbooks, NY, 1989


Kelly wants to set up a cookie delivery service on horseback, so that she can make some money.
Linda tries to help her, but it all goes wrong when Kelly won’t accept money she hasn’t earned
herself.

Everybody’s Favorite
Simon & Schuster, Pocketbooks, NY, 1990


Linda and Amber set out to track down the truth: has Bob, who it appears rescued some horses
from a fire at the stable, actually acted responsibly?


 


 



Compilations

Kathy in Charge

Author: Alison Hart
Simon & Schuster, Pocketbooks, NY, 1990


Linda’s best friend, Kathy, is looking forward to the school fair, but then all her plans are scuppered
when her horrible cousin Carly comes for a two week stay. Kathy has to look after her.

 


 




First collection

Linda Craig and the Palomino Mystery

Linda Craig and the Clue on the Desert Trail

Linda Craig and the Secret of Rancho del Sol

Linda Craig and the Mystery of Horseshoe Canyon

Linda Craig and the Mystery in Mexico

Linda Craig and the Ghost Town Treasure


Second collection

All of the above plus

The Haunted Valley
Secret of the Old Sleigh
The Emperor’s Pony
Phantom of Dark Oaks
Search for Scorpio


Third collection
Golden Secret

 A Star for Linda

The Silver Stallion

The Crystal Trail

The Glimmering Ghost

The Ride to Gold Canyon

A Horse for Jackie

A Star in the Saddle

The Riding Club

Anything for Kelly

Everybody’s Favourite

Kathy in Charge



Armada series (UK)

Palomino Mystery

Clue on the Desert Trail

Secret of Rancho del Sol

Horseshoe Canyon

Mystery in Mexico

Ghost Town Treasure

The Haunted Valley

Secret of the Old Sleigh

Emperor’s Pony

Phantom of Dark Oaks

Search for Scorpio (possibly)