Saturday, February 15, 2020

Silver Wings for Vicki

People have to dream, darling--dream, and make their dreams come true. Why, that's how the world goes on. (p. 6)

Silver Wings for Vicki (1947) by Helen Wells is the first book in the Vicki Barr Flight Stewardess series and there is a lot going on. It begins with Vicki having just finished two years of college and not being terribly excited at the prospects of going back. She knows her father, Professor Barr, would prefer that she finish her education--but she sees an ad in the newspaper with the headline

To Girls Who Would Like to Travel
To Meet People -- To Adventure

and she just knows that she's one of those girls. What she wouldn't give to go flying around the world in one of those big silver birds.

So, even though she knows she's a little young and doesn't have quite all the experience asked for, she decides to go to the interviews and give it a try anyway. Her father, knowing how much it means to her, is willing to let her go for her dreams.

To her amazement (but not to the reader's--because after all we've been told that this is the "Flight Stewardess" series), she convinces Miss Ruth Benson, the interviewer, to give her a chance. Before she and her family know it, she's on her way to New York City for an intense training session where only girls who score 95-97% (there are no perfect scores) make the grade and earn their silver wings. Vicki is a personable young woman and quickly makes friends. Of course, she and her five closest friends pass the class. They set up house in a shared apartment with a housekeeper-cum-house mother who makes sure they get fed properly, get plenty of sleep, and she sends any male callers home at a reasonable hour. The girls settle down into their flight routines, getting used to managing flights on their own and then Vicki falls headlong into a mystery involving suspicious travelers and ostrich-leather bags. She helps the authorities capture the bad guys and winds up a heroine on the front page of all the papers.

Vicki is another strong, independent character that I would have loved had I discovered her when I was reading Nancy Drew. She is a career woman who wants to be a flight stewardess--not because it's glamorous, but because she loves the idea of flying and helping the people who travel. She is intelligent and notices when passengers are behaving oddly and this leads to many of her adventures. The mysteries aren't terribly intricate, but they are good fun, especially for young readers. Silver Wings was an excellent beginning for the series. ★★★★

Calendar of Crime: Author DOB
Vintage Mystery: Rule #13 (No Corpse)

First Line: There it was, as big as life, in the Fairview Sunday paper.
Last Line: Give my love to Dean and the girls and tell them I'll be back--soon!

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