Kathy Martin leaves her family's California apple ranch to attend the nearby small nursing school at San Tomás Hospital.
Like Cherry Ames, Kathy frequently finds mysteries to solve, but unlike Cherry, she often finds herself dissatisfied with the limits of nursing as a profession, and even becomes annoyed with doctors.
In the first book, Kathy acquires a steady boyfriend named Steve--who, amazingly enough, is not a doctor!--and a set of friends who appear throughout the series, as does her somewhat imperfect family: her father, Big Nick; her mother, Ella; and her younger brothers, Little Nick and Johnny.
- A Cap for Kathy, 1959
A fire during her high school graduation brings Kathy romance with a young fireman named Steve and worry that her own brother might be the firebug; later, her father's serious accident interrupts Kathy's first year of training at San Tomás Hospital.
- Junior Nurse, 1960
Kathy tries to assist a hit-run accident victim and her family cope with their severe financial problems by tracing a lost deed, but her frustrations over the limitations on her ability to help lead her to consider abandoning a career in nursing.
This is one of the few times that junior year in nursing school is addressed in its own volume; most series skip it.
- Senior Nurse, 1960
An investigation of what happened to a patient's missing locket, a stint as a patient herself, and a brief interlude with a blind heart patient mark Kathy's senior year.
- The Patient in 202, 1961
While waiting for an Alaskan assignment, Kathy nurses a troubled young man and discovers the truth about a series of art forgeries.
- Assignment in Alaska, 1961
Kathy and her former classmate Kelley travel to Alaska for a year to work with TB patients at a federal hospital; Kathy staunchly defends an Eskimo man accused of destroying a totem pole.
- Private Nurse, 1962
Back home from Alaska and facing problems in renewing her relationship with her boyfriend, Kathy takes on private duty cases and helps out during a Christmastime flood and epidemic that threaten her hometown.
- Search for an Island, 1963
Kathy joins the crew of a sailing ship embarked for an uncharted South Sea island; she investigates the disappearance of a valuable seashell and the learns the true story of a mysterious Frenchman living among the islanders.
Josephine James is a pseudonym for the mother-daughter writing team of Emma Gelders Sterne and Barbara Lindsay.
- Sierra Adventure, 1964
Worried that her boyfriend might have been injured while fighting a forest fire, Kathy and her brother hop a small plane to fly to his side. But their plane crashes, and Kathy and the other passengers must survive in the wilderness.
- Courage in Crisis, 1964
Kathy takes a temporary job in a rehabilitation center in San Francisco and helps a troubled patient by uncovering the facts surrounding the accident that has robbed him of a baseball career.
- Off-Duty Nurse, 1964
Kathy helps her friend Kelley plan a whirlwind wedding and traces the strange circumstances that led to a package of money being sent to a needy family.
- An Affair of the Heart, 1965
In San Francisco, Kathy works with a demanding research doctor who is trying to develop a mechanical heart despite funding problems.
- Peace Corps Nurse, 1965
Dissatisfied with the lack of direction in her life, Kathy and her former classmate Jenny join the Peace Corps; while undergoing training for a two-year stint in Liberia, Kathy restores a ceremonial mask to its rightful owner.
- African Adventure, 1965
Assigned to a remote village in Liberia, Kathy struggles to improve health conditions, and learns that outside forces have their own reasons for encouraging native superstitions.
Cover illustration by John Firnic, from A Cap for Kathy, copyright © 1959, Golden Press.
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