Our adventure finds Nancy, Bess and George residing at a fancy motel. Nancy is an almost expert golfer at the hotel's course (of course) and enters a competition; her father also needs her help in solving the mystery of a jewelry theft gang, so she manages to fit in both golfing practice and investigation. Her father tells her that one of the suspects is a young woman, Miss Judson, who owns a sparkling "vanity case" (contains face powder). Nancy goes to a hotel where the woman is probably staying, and she just happens to see a sad-looking young woman pull out a jeweled vanity case! The woman leaves before Nancy can ask her name, but their idle conversation revealed that the woman's house burned down near the hotel Nancy is staying at. It's sort of a vague clue. But near ruins of the house Nancy finds the real jeweled case!
This plot is written and handled somewhat clumsily in my mind, so, in short, here is the basic story: Miss Judson was falesly accused of stealing the jeweled vanity case by another woman,. This woman, Mrs. Brownell, was a guest at Miss Judson's estate. Mrs. Brownell lent it (the vanity case) to Miss Judson to look at. A fire broke out late in the night, and though Miss Judson took out the vanity case as she fled, she lost it, and was accused of stealing. This estranged her from her fiancee. At the end, though--no surprise here--she was cleared of any accusations and it turns out that Mrs. Brownell was part of the jewelry theft ring. Miss Judson happily marries her fiancee, and all is well.
- A subplot in this book involves a man named Mortimer Bartesque, a twenty year old who is very attracted to Nancy, whom in the original texts is sixteen years old, not eighteen. He is always flattering her and talking about her lovely "feminine charms" (in a G-rated way, of course, but still very embarassing for poor Nancy). He sends her flowers and asks her to a dance, but is oblivious to her scorning of him. She's originally suspicious of him because she soon notices that his signature is always different--on a card he sent with the flowers, in the hotel registration book, on the golf ball he gave to her (vainly thinking she would find his autographed ball to be a great honor). She wonders for a short time if he's involved with the jewelry thefts, but quickly realizes he's just playing a game. He had heard of the famous Nancy Drew and wanted to see if he could outwit her.
- George gets a call from her mother, whom mentions that this vacation will be a nice, relaxing time before George goes back to school. This adds, at least in a small way, more realism overall. In the revised texts, the girls are eighteen and apparently not in college or working.
- It is interesting to look back on these books and see how different Nancy's social life is from in the revised editions. Though Nancy of course attended dances and social events in both old and revised editions, they are "a bigger deal" in the originals, such as this. Nancy wears a "sports frock" when she is golfing; is adamant that she requires an escort for a hotel dance, demure as it is, so she reluctantly ends up with the only man who asked her--Mortimer Bartesque; pays meticulous attention to what she wears to the dance; and despite walking and scrambling about among the woods looking for a lost golf ball, always manages to look like a fashion plate.
- Nancy wins the golf tournament (surprised?).
- There is another instance of describing a black woman as "colored".
- Ned is in this, but really doesn't play a big role until the end.