Saturday, July 7, 2012

#2: The Hidden Staircase; original text


I think I'll make a comment about the cover first. The hat on Nancy's head looks like a bad attempt to make a trendy swimming cap. Oh well, I'm not from the 1930's so who am I to judge fashion? :)

Nancy is just sitting at home, bored, when a man comes to the door. Nancy doesn't hesitate to open it, and this Nathan Gombet guy starts ranting and telling her to get her father. Nancy tells him that her father is away, and he starts throwing a fit, claiming that Carson Drew has cheated him on a property sale. Instead of slamming the door or punching him in the face, Nancy lets him in the house. He wants papers that prove that Carson "cheated" him. Nancy loses her temper and isn't afraid to call the intruder "crazy"--which he is, but if someone forcefully came into my home, I wouldn't say "yo, dude, you're crazy!" He only backs off when she manages to pick up the telephone and starts dialing. He runs off, while threatening her father.

 When Nancy tells Mr. Drew about what happened, he simply says, "Next time, don't let [Nathan Gombet] in." A typical response when your daughter tells you someone tried to steal your things and threatened your daughter, no? Nathan Gombet appears later, however, to rant at Mr. Drew personally and to threaten him.

Nancy goes to check on Abby Rowen (Nancy helped her and a few other people by finding a missing will in the first book, The Secret of the Old Clock, review\recap coming soon). Miss Rowen has a visitor, an elderly woman named Rosemary who lives with her twin sister, Floretta, at a Civil War era family mansion. Nancy stays at the mansion, because the women have had things stolen and seen mysterious shadows and heard unexplainable music. Oh, and by the by, Mr. Gombet offered to buy their house for much less than what it is worth. More mysterious things happen, and Nancy searches for hidden doors but is unsuccessful. She also gets a warning message to leave the Turnbull estate. Meanwhile, Mr. Drew, returning from business matters in Chicago, stops at a station where he is supposed to meet Nancy. Mr. Gombet meets him--and tricks him into believing that Nancy is ill and had to be taken to his (Gombet's) home. Carson ends up captive in Gombet's basement. Ironically, later that night, Nancy sneaks out to search the Gombet house and subsequently ends up captured herself. But in true Nancy Drew fashion, she finds a hidden door that Gombet didn't know about, and manages to get into a tunnel, and eventually ends up at the mansion. Mr. Drew is found, Gombet is arrested, and all's well that ends well.

Tidbits:
  • Alison Hoover from The Secret of the Old Clock shows up and brags about her sister Grace's new "electric sewing machine".
  •  When Nancy asks Floretta when she noticed her diamond barrette was missing, Floretta answers that it was after "the iceman" had delivered ice. I get ice delivered too--by an ice machine in the fridge. :-p
  • Nancy says: "I think Dad was wise to suggest that I take his revolver. And I'll bring plenty of ammunition, too! Enough to annihilate an army!" Guess it's true that the Nancy of the revised editions is the Nancy I remember from childhood--perfect, collected, smart and meticulous in every way and hardly ever making mistakes!
  • Alison Hoover also gives Nancy a whole chicken and some eggs as a gift. Nancy puts it in the "electrical refrigerator". Ok, question--wouldn't a NON electrical refrigerator simply be called an ice box? Anyone...?
  • Nathan Gombet's accomplice is a fat, angry, cruel "negress" who makes sure Nancy stays captive. But later, when Nancy leads the police to the Gombet house so they can arrest her as well, she comes out and threatens the main policeman with a gun. Get a load of this quote!: "You git, white man! Or I'll fill yo system full of lead". Um, yea. The policeman eventually take her by surprise as they don't want to directly shoot her.
P.S.:
I need to vent some anger...I read Twilight and found that there were a few good points that I enjoyed. So I thought, there's nothing to lose--why not try the second book (New Moon)? I was wrong. There was something to lose--MY TEMPER! I. Hate. That. Book. Sorry...gotta let it go somehow!

2 comments:

nancydrewjourney said...

"Nancy says: "I think Dad was wise to suggest that I take his revolver. And I'll bring plenty of ammunition, too! Enough to annihilate an army!" Guess it's true that the Nancy of the revised editions is the Nancy I remember from childhood--perfect, collected, smart and meticulous in every way and hardly ever making mistakes!"

Can you imagine the Nancy in the revised versions even attempting to pick up a gun and fire it? Or even talking about wanting to do some harm? The old Nancy was really bold.

I cannot wait to buy the original version of Hidden Staircase. I feel like it is taking forever to build my collection but I'll get there.

mousecliffe said...

I remember thinking it very sensible of Nancy to take a gun (and enough ammo to "annihilate an army") to such a scary place.
I did think the Misses Rosemary and Floretta to be a bit hysterical though. I mean who screams because a bird gets into the house?
Although it isn't very PC of me, I throughly enjoyed the "colored" woman who kept house for Nathan Gombet and Jeff Tucker, the caretaker in "Old Clock". Even though they both talk like characters from a minstrel show. Of course when I was growing up the term "colored" was considered polite usage. That alone (and the gun remark) will give you a good idea of my advanced age.
And I have to make a pedantic remark about the "electrical refrigerator". The term refrigerator was used as early as the 19th century for an insulated box for food storage that may or may not have ice in it. (If you go on archive.org or google Montgomery Ward Catalogues you will find all sorts of FASCINATING stuff including a "refrigerator" that doesn't appear to be an ice box.) An electric refrigerator wouldn't be a common kitchen appliance until after WWII. This shows the Drews are fairly well-to-do.