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By the Light of the Study Lamp

(The Dana Girls Mystery Stories, First Set #1)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  470 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Jean and Louise Dana are given a valuable study lamp by their Uncle Ned. The girls plan to place it in their study room at Starhurst when they return for their sophomore year. But before the girls leave, the lamp is stolen! After the sisters return to Starhurst, they discover the lamp in a secondhand shop and buy it back. Unwittingly, the girls make an enemy of their class ...more
Hardcover, 215 pages
Published 1949 by Grosset & Dunlap (first published 1934)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  470 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Oct 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Even though Thomas Wolfe was right---"you can't go home again," it was still fun to re-discover the Dana Girls. This is the first book in the series of mysteries I read as a (very) young girl. Perhaps the most amusing part of this book (which was originally published in 1934)was the amusing and intrepid behaviour of the young heroines.

They raced after bad guys; borrowed brand new cars from virtual strangers (these are high school sophomores doing this) and decide they'd first try to solve a robb
Feb 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jf-mystery
I read this series so long ago, that it is difficult to remember details. All I remember now is that I liked the Dana Girls better than Nancy Drew, although I don't remember why. It may have been the whole boarding school scene that appealed to me. ...more
Nov 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
I must say I wasn't a fan of the Dana Girls, the crime solving sister sleuths who were stop #2 on my tour of 1930s girls' mystery series. While I appreciate formulaic fiction with the best of them and find it very cool that there was formula fiction in the 1930 featuring girls doing something other than cooking or sewing or preparing to be Mrs. June Cleaver in another decade or two, I found it hard (okay, impossible) to look past the incredible sense of entitlement that Jean and Louise displayed ...more
Jun 16, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This series seems comparable to Nancy Drew in a number of ways. I've only read the first entry so I can't say that they are for sure.

It's a simple fast-paced read, nothing too thrilling or overly exciting. The violence in this book was more in line with the violence in the 1980's/1990's Nancy Drew series, and so was the recklessness of the Dana girls.

Obviously since this was a Carolyn Keene book written prior to the 1970's, some racially insensitive material was bound to occur. All I will say o
I read a couple of Dana Girls mysteries when I was young (and those books are packed in a box somewhere)--but I really couldn't tell you a thing about them, unlike the Nancy Drew books I read. So when I saw a few titles on one of our antique mall expeditions, I decided to get them and give the girls another try. By the Light of the Study Lamp (1934) was one of the books I picked up--a good place to start since it's the first of the series.

In their first adventure, Louise and Jean receive a surpr
Aug 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Nancy Drew Fans
Read the old versions! Much better! And interesting... the terms they used back then!!!
Although the Dana Girls attend boarding school, this is primarily a mystery series, and I always preferred Jean and Louise to Nancy Drew.
Mar 21, 2013 rated it liked it
I loved this series of books that I read back in junior high. They are from the same syndicate that wrote the Nancy Drew books and the Hardy Boys, but I much preferred the Dana Girls.
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jean and Louise are due back at their school for the beginning of their sophomore year. As a surprise, their uncle Ned Dana, buys the girls a lamp that is then quickly stolen. The girls manage to track down the would-be thief but without evidence are forced to concede he may not be the criminal they're looking for. Back at school, the girls encounter Lettie Briggs. A spoiled, rich girl that has it out for the Dana sisters. On top of that, the girls are also trying to help their friend, Evelyn St ...more
Emily V
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved this book! This is an amazing sort and adventure with the Dana Girls. This series is very similar to Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries so if you enjoy reading those types of mysteries you would love this series. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves mysteries!
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing book! As I’ve said in other reviews, the Dana Girls are just as good as Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books. If you get a chance to get a Dana Girls book, grab it because they are all amazing! 5 stars...
By the Light of the Study Lamp is the first book in the Dana Girls Mystery Stories. It was published in 1934 and was "written by" Carolyn Keene which was a pseudonym used by the Stratemeyer Syndicate. The series was written by a few ghostwriters and this particular title was written by Leslie McFarlane. The Dana girls are two sisters in their teens who live with their Uncle Ned and Aunt Harriet because they are orphaned. At the beginning of the novel they receive an antique lamp from th
Sarah Crawford
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book in the Dana Girls series. Louise and Jean are sisters. Louise has dark hair and is serious, whereas Jean is boyish and outgoing. They are orphans and live in Oak Falls with their Uncle Ned. They attend the Starhurst School for Girls in Penfield, and are sophomores.

Cora Appel is an incredibly clumsy and basically useless maid. Aunt Harriet is in charge of the house.

The story starts with their Uncle Ned sending the girls a present of a lamp. It's only a matter of minutes be
Jul 14, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a fun girls' series and one must not expect too much from this genre. I enjoyed the old fashioned lifestyle and the sort of detection methods without the help of computers, smartphones or Internet. It is a sort of nostalgia for days gone by, a sort of fascination for a simpler time. From that aspect, I really enjoyed this book. I was, however, hoping more of boarding school action, but there was absolutely nothing. It was rather pointless to set this book in a boarding school and absolut ...more
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
I picked this book out of a Free Library with the intent of comparing my impressions as an adult reader to the impressions I had as a pre-adolescent. First, I was surprised to learn that author Carolyn Keene was not a real person. A number of women wrote the Nancy Drew books and The Dana Girls books under that name. Second, my adult reading of "By the Light of the Study Lamp" was most notable for finding blatant racism: the dark, swarthy gypsy brother and sister are the bad guys. As a pre-adoles ...more
Sep 22, 2017 rated it liked it
So fun, via this book, to take a time trip to--1934.

Also notable, is the fact that this is the first of the Dana Girls' mysteries. Here we learn that these orphan sisters are being raised by their sea captain uncle, Ned. Supposedly Ned is not that rich, but he can afford to send the girls to boarding school for high school. Also, the girls think nothing of spending $50 (in 2017 money, that would be more than $900) on a study lamp.

Here in this little mystery for young girls, the ground work was
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Thoughts about book.
Like the Nancy Drew series, I found this book to be both engaging and delightful. I enjoyed this as a child and I still remember it years later. It is the tale of two sisters(Louise and Jean Dana)who are orphans. They are currently attending a boarding school. The girls receive a beautiful, valuable lamp from their seafaring Uncle Ned Dana. However, the sisters not long after they received the gift find that has been stolen. The sisters pursue the thief but to no avail. They
Chris Curtis
Jul 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dana-girls, mystery
I never had the chance to read this series when I was young. I remember it being advertised in my Nancy Drew books. Parts of the book are dated but it makes for a fun read that takes you back to an earlier time when girls always wore skirts or dresses, even to slide down banisters to sneak out and chase criminals.
Marts  (Thinker)
Oct 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
These older versions are always best, however though the Dana girls were quite good, I dont think I could put them above Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys. I'll still recommend these books to anyone who wants a good old fashioned mystery!! ...more
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Jean and Louise try to uncover the secret of a friends misery at Starhurst school, all the while trying to find out who is after the new study lamp they have recently been given. Love these original 1930's Dana Girls! ...more
Susan Laine
Sep 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-lit
This was the first series I collected as a young girl. I liked it better than the Nancy Drew series, which I also enjoyed.
Bryce Ray
Aug 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure if I liked this book better than the Nancy Drew books or not but overall if you are a fan of Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys you will love this book. ...more
Ryan Gerig
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very predictable, but still enjoyable. Much better than the last one I read.
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
The 1st mystery in the Dana Girls series by Carolyn Keene.
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
Just felt very formulaic, nowhere near the standards of the Nancy Drew series. How many people can fall and hit their heads? Apparently 3...
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dana-girls, i-own-it
For my first experience reading a Dana Girls mystery, I decided to start with this first volume (I bought the original 1934 edition). By The Light of the Study Lamp was a delightful, thrilling story that's quite similar to the Nancy Drew mysteries I love. Louise and Jean are very pleasant main characters, Louise being the older and more decisive of the pair, and Jean being the more impulsive and energetic. The plot starts out fairly simple, involving the girls' antique lamp being stolen, but it ...more
Carol Palmer
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read the Nancy Drew books as a kid, but somehow I missed out on The Dana Girls. This series is authored by the same writer, Carolyn Keene, which is actually the pen name of more than one author of both series. Just for fun, I'm reading as many Dana Girls stories as I can find. They are much harder to find than Nancy Drew. The situations and people in this series could best be described as "quaint", but that's OK. The books were written for older teens in a simpler and more innocent time. There ...more
Jul 29, 2020 rated it liked it
It was cute enough and Jean and Louise are definitely interesting and intelligent and nicely capable which is something you expect from a "Carolyn Keene" branded book. The plot was also pretty jaunty. However, it lacked the smoothness and intelligence of the Drew books. I don't know which ghost-writer did these but it certainly wasn't the ghost-writer used for the Drew books. Mildred Wirt Benson would never have let such sloppy foreshadowing go into print! Things such as "she did not think much ...more
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this book a long time ago and I re-read it for an article I'm writing. I really liked this first book in the Dana Girls series. The antique lamp in the story provided lots of intrigue and the Dana Girl sleuths faced some danger as they followed the clues. There weren't too many coincidences in this book either. The girls' nemesis, Lettie Briggs, provides some mischief in the lives of the girls at Starhurst Boarding School. I think part of the charm of this series is that the girls live at ...more
Jun 10, 2019 rated it liked it
The Dana Girls Mysteries were never as interesting to me as the Nancy Drew Mysteries. As two sisters, it's hard to keep Louise and Jean straight, I dislike the "mean girl" trope of Lettie and her mousy sidekick Ina, and I feel the plots themselves just aren't as original and interesting. In this one, I do like the setting of former estate turned into an all girls academy in the 1930s and the customs of the time, loosely applied to the independent Dana sisters, amusing. I guess either the sisters ...more
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Carolyn Keene is a writer pen name that was used by many different people- both men and women- over the years. The company that was the creator of the Nancy Drew series, the Stratemeyer Syndicate, hired a variety of writers. For Nancy Drew, the writers used the pseudonym Carolyn Keene to assure anonymity of the creator.

Edna and Harriet Stratemeyer inherited the company from their father Edward Str

Other books in the series

The Dana Girls Mystery Stories, First Set (1 - 10 of 30 books)
  • The Secret at Lone Tree Cottage (The Dana Girls Mystery Stories, #2)
  • In the Shadow of the Tower (The Dana Girls Mystery Stories, #3)
  • A Three-Cornered Mystery (The Dana Girls Mystery Stories, #4)
  • The Secret at the Hermitage (The Dana Girls Mystery Stories, #5)
  • The Circle of Footprints (The Dana Girls Mystery Stories, #6)
  • The Mystery of the Locked Room (The Dana Girls Mystery Stories, #7)
  • The Clue in the Cobweb (The Dana Girls Mystery Stories, #8)
  • The Secret at the Gatehouse (The Dana Girls Mystery Stories, #9)
  • The Mysterious Fireplace (The Dana Girls Mystery Stories, #10)
  • The Clue of the Rusty Key (The Dana Girls Mystery Stories, #11)

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