Thursday, August 26, 2010

Courageous Wings by Mildred A. Wirt

Courageous Wings was written by Mildred A. Wirt and published by Penn in 1937.  It was later reprinted by Books, Inc.  The Books, Inc. edition is not too difficult to find and can be found fairly inexpensively.   Books, Inc. published the book in a hardcover edition with dust jacket and a glossy picture cover edition.

The story begins from the perspectives of Jim Sherman, a young pilot, and Shorty Dawes, his mechanic. The two men are approached by another man, Marcus Reman, who asks the men to fly him to Martin Bowman's estate at Pinetop. The weather conditions are poor, and the men refuse, despite Reman's offer of five hundred dollars. Consider how much money $500 was in 1937. Reman must be up to something!

Reman obtains the services of another pilot. In the meantime, a young woman, Cleo Bowman, approaches Sherman and Dawes and wonders whether there is a way that she can get to Pinetop that night. She refuses to state why, but explains that her father has a great deal to lose if she fails to make the trip.

Jim Sherman offers to take Cleo to Pinetop (for free, of course), even though he just refused to fly due to the weather. After a very harrowing flight in which the plane nearly crashes, the young people arrive at Pinetop. They find Reman and his pilot already there. Reman produces a letter written by Mr. Bowman that summoned Reman to Pinetop immediately. Cleo notes that the signature does not look like her father's, but Reman insists that the signature is genuine.

Cleo confesses in private to Jim and Shorty that her father's company is in danger of failing due to much bad luck in recent months. An incident occurs which makes it apparent that Reman is up to no good. Around this time, the perspective switches to Cleo, and the rest of the story is told from Cleo's point of view. The remainder of the book centers around Cleo's attempts to help Mr. Bowman get out of financial debt. Jim and Shorty lend their assistance.

It is a bit odd that the story begins from the young men's point of view and later switches to Cleo. At the beginning, I thought that Jim Sherman was the main character and did not realize until a few chapters later that it was Cleo Bowman.

This is a typical good story by Mildred Wirt Benson and is worth reading.

5 comments:

Donna said...

I bought this book about a year ago, and took it along to read on a short business trip last week. I always find it fun to read about the early days of aviation - a good, stand-alone story.

Coffeegulper said...

Jennifer,
Are these "Penny Parker reprints" (which you mentioned) Applewood publications? If so, I've never seen any.

If not, exactly what did you mean? The later reprints by Cupples And Leon?
Thanks,
Richard

Jennifer said...

This is where I mention the Penny Parker books.

Judy Bolton and Penny Parker Reprints

You can find the Penny Parker books by searching Amazon for Mildred Wirt. All of the texts are free on Project Gutenberg. Someone took the texts, downloaded them, and now has books for sale. Furthermore, my scans were stolen and placed on Project Gutenberg, so my images have been placed on many of the books without my permission.

These are not any sort of official edition. The books are public domain, so anyone can print them in a cheap softcover edition.

Chris said...

I enjoy your website very much - but Courageous Wings was originally published by Penn in 1937, and it appears to be quite uncommon in the first edition. The 1940 edition by Books Inc is a reprint and, as you mention, relatively easy to find.

Jennifer White said...

That's true. I think when I wrote this post in 2010 that I was not aware of the Penn edition. Thanks for pointing out the error. I just corrected the first paragraph.