Phyllis A. Whitney (1903-2008)

Phyllis Ayame Whitney was a very popular and prolific American author who has written children's, teen, and adult novels and also books about writing itself. She was best known for her mystery novels and was dubbed 'The Queen of the American Gothics.'

She was born in 1903 in Japan (of American parents). After her father died when she was just a teenager, Phyllis and her mother moved to America. Phyllis originally wanted to be a dancer and she both performed and taught dance. However, she soon turned from dance and embarked upon an alternative writing career. She wrote many short stories which were published mainly in 'pulp' magazines. At the time she also worked in a number of libraries and bookstores, as she was not earning enough from writing to live on. She also worked as a children's book editor.

In 1941 her first novel, a children's story, was published. Many more novels were to follow over the years and she soon became extremely popular as a mystery writer (both adult and children's mysteries). Some of her mysteries won Edgar Awards and she was awarded the top American accolade for mystery authors - The Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

One of her juvenile mystery novels is also a pony story.

There is a website devoted to the author where you can find out a lot more about her and read summaries of all her books

Pony Books:

Reprinted in paperback by Scholastic.
SUMMARY: Horse-mad Janey is thrilled when she meets beautiful thoroughbred Star. His owner lives nearby to her aunt's, where Janey is spending the summer. Mrs Burley, Star's owner, is eccentric, crotchety and possible even crazy! She is convinced that the ghost of a hound haunts the area. Janey soon realises that she must solve the mystery of Mrs. Burley and her ghost if she is ever to have a chance of riding Star...

Collector's Info:
The paperback is very easy to find in the USA, the first edition slightly less common. It is also available in the UK via Amazon.