- The Girl With No Name…. – Mandy PSL: #170 (1992)
- Sequel: She’s Back! The Girl With No Name – Mandy PSL: #172 (1992)
- Artist: ?
Unusual for these picture story library books, this story was split up over two books. The first part of the story introduces us to a young girl on a remote island, that swims with seals and runs faster than a hare. She lives with a woman, Megan who has raised the girl to prove her theories that a human can be raised to reach their full potential and use all their brain’s processing power. One day a supply boat arrives early to the island and Professor Megan Pugh is confronted by a Dr. Lee, he leaves but promises to return. Megan tells the girl they must leave and tells her to push a boulder in front of their cave top hide it. They start to row away from the island the girl wonders what Megan is hiding and she also questions her about her own name. Megan says she will tell her when the time is right. They get caught in a storm and are separated. Dr Lee listening on radio hears about a girl being rescued by a fishing boat asking about a Megan.
She stays with the fishing family, they notice strange things about her, such as enhanced hearing and not feeling the cold. When she sees Dr. Lee asking the family questions about her, she runs away. She then hears on the radio Dr. Lee claiming she is an escaped patient. She manages to avoid him and joins up with a circus. She first befriends a woman Mrs. Boggles (a clown) and her monkey Lord Chumley. She shows amazing talent at trapeze and the ringmaster asks if she would like to join the act. Although this doesn’t please one the other trapeze acts. She contacts Dr. Lee who drugs the girl and takes her away. He tells her Megan had taken her from an orphanage and how he was an old colleague that hadn’t believed her theories. The girl begins to remember the orphanage and meeting Megan. She breaks away and finds Dr. Lee is also holding Megan prisoner. He tells Megan they can work together, bit she tells him not to cross her and knocks him out. Megan and the girl leave but the girl does not want to go with Megan and decides to run off and find out who she could have been.
The second book picks up with the girl back in the circus doing a high wire act. Some flashbacks cover events of the previous book. Her act catches the attention of two men Murdo and Skeggs. They follow her while she is out shopping with Mrs. Boggles. She suddenly has a memory of being at the orphanage, she tracks down a ruin with a name plate; Lady Brodie’s Orphan home. While she is examining the building the two men capture Lord Chumley. They send a letter to the girl if she wants her monkey back she will have to meet them at midnight.
They want to use her to break into a building. A third man called Professor is also there to turn off any alarms. Tight-roping across two buildings. She does as they ask in order to get Chumley back. After they get the jewels the three men cross back to the other building, as the girl is walking back Murdo cuts the wire, as she would be able to identify them. She manages to swing onto a window ledge. She tracks down the thieves and confronts them. Murdo says he will take her to the monkey but locks her into a safari park. Chumley is in a cage while she is left out in the open with wild animals, including a bear. She escapes with Lord Chumley and stops the gang from leaving on a plane. She ties them up and contacts the police.
Meanwhile Mrs Boggles has been doing some investigating into the girl’s past. She has found out that she was taken into care after her parents were lost presumed dead. When they turned up alive it was too late because Megan had taken her into hiding. She goes to her parents house and see that they have adopted a girl that she used to be friends with at the orphanage. She decides not to interrupt, but she does ask Mrs Boggles what her real name is. It is Selina Smith, she keeps the name and decides the circus is now her family.
I really like the first book. There is tension and mystery story. Megan while not really the villain of the piece, her attitude towards the girl is more clinical than motherly. While I don’t think she’d want any harm to come to the girl, her priority seems to be her research. Dr. Lee is a good antagonist, he is smart and crafty. Broadcasting on the radio that she is an escaped patient that needs help, he gets people on his side. His history with Megan also makes me interested in their background. He makes a better villain than the second book’s villains. The girl while strong and smart she also shows a soft side. She is shown to secretly want a family and she is grateful to the people who help her. She also is concerned for Megan, when she believes she is danger. The art in both books is good throughout and the covers are appealing. There are some good action sequences in both books too.
For years I never had the second book, the cover makes it look quite exciting and I was eager to read about her journey to track down her past. So it was a bit of a disappointment when I read it and most of the plot just involved a gang of thieves unrelated to her past. I found it didn’t have the tension and urgency of the first book either. The middle part seems to go off on a tangent, then suddenly wrapping up the truth of her name and past in the last few pages. I can understand that maybe they needed villains and action to show off her enhanced human abilities, but it may have been more interesting if maybe Dr. Lee returned to pursue her or even Megan not willing to lose her years of work. Also the ending feels a bit rushed when she sees her parents with a girl, she remembers the girl being a friend, but none of her previous flashbacks indicated that.
I did like that she stayed with the circus and it was good to see her friendship with Mrs. Boggles continued. Also I thought it was good that while tracking down her past was important, she was also able to let it go and move on when she sees her parents happy.