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Penny Parker was the heroine of a series of 17 books written by Mildred Wirt and published from 1939 through 1947. Penny was a high school student turned sleuth while irregularly working as a reporter for her father's newspaper. Her mother, similar to Nancy Drew's, had died some years before, so she was raised by the Parker housekeeper, Mrs. Weems. On her cases she is sometimes aided by her close friend, brunette Louise Sidell, and occasionally Jerry Livingston or Salt Sommers who were, respectively, a reporter and photographer for her father's paper.
There are extant notes for an 18th book, which was never completed. The first four books were lightly revised and reprinted in 1951; the project went no further, and Benson decided not to do Nancy-Drew-like updates on her own series.
Benson, who was a newspaper reporter herself, favored Penny Parker over all the other books she wrote, including Nancy Drew. Her obituary quoted her as saying, " 'I always thought Penny Parker was a better Nancy Drew than Nancy is,' Mrs. Benson said in 1993." 
The series (title and publication date): 
Penny Parker- a high-school student with a skill at reporting and getting involved in mystery. Her impulsiveness can get her into hot water. She is the daughter of Anthony Parker. Penny has blonde hair and blue eyes.
Anthony Parker- Penny's father and the owner of The Riverview Star. He gives her much freedom but rather disapproves of her sleuthing.
Mrs. Maude Weems- the Parker family housekeeper; since the death of Mrs. Parker, she has cared for Penny as her own. Like Penny's father, she disapproves of the girl's sleuthing.
Louise Sidell- Penny's "closest friend", Louise is more cautious and less athletic than her chum. Occasionally she is portrayed as being a bit clumsy. In Saboteurs on the River she said she was going to be a nurse when she grew up. Though often reluctant to join Penny, she never wishes to be left alone and always gives in.
Jerry Livingston- a "crack reporter" on The Riverview Star, Jerry serves as a love interest for Penny. He was absent for several books while serving in the Army.
Salt Sommers- an unattractive but skilled photographer on the The Riverview Star, he is a good friend of Penny's.
 Zaborney, Mark (2002-05-29). "Blade columnist, Nancy Drew author Millie Benson dies at age 96". Toledo Blade. http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2002105290069. Retrieved 2007-04-03.
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