Friday, October 28, 2016

#44 The Clue in the Crossword Cipher

I know, I said I would be back but I didn't stick around long did I...but I'm back for real! I experienced a temporary loss of interest in Nancy Drew books because I've been obsessed with Vatican-centered suspense novels lately (thanks a lot, Dan Brown) and reading every one I can get my hands on. But I digress.

I had to force myself  to finish this one. The locations in this book are interesting but this is the book's downfall: 90% "travel guide" dialog about South America, 10% actual plot. The Nazca lines, for example, are interesting but writing about them seems to be just padding out the story. They have no import in the plot at all. Other international Nancy Drew titles occasionally stray into this territory but not this far!

Oh, and at the end of the story, Nancy, after conveniently stumbling through random clues, finds a treasure in South America that the goverment has been trying to find for hundreds of years. Of course.

  • This book has some of the lamest cliffhangers ever. The crossword cipher (it's carved on a piece of rare wood) is missing! Gasp! Oh, wait, Hannah put it away for safekeeping. Phew! Nancy is on the edge of a cliff when someone tries to...throw paint on her! Oh, the suspsense!
  • The narration gets really "judgy" about Bess's love of food in this book. Leave Bess alone, ghostwriter.
  • The Crossword Cipher gets stolen for real eventually, and the girls locate it in a shop in South America. The plaque's owner says that it's really hers, and the shop owner (who doesn't know her from Eve) just takes her word for it. Well, that was solved easily.
Cover image is from

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

#1 The Secret of the Old Clock; revised with comparison

The is the very first Nancy Drew book I ever read, and I'm finally going to compare it to the original.

It starts out very different from the original, which opened up with Nancy and Mr. Drew talking about the greedy Tophams and the Crowley will dispute. In this, Nancy saves a little girl, Judy, who's run into traffic and then fallen off a bridge (she doesn't appear in the original). The Turner sisters from the 1930 text are back, but are Judy's aunts.

Nancy's introduction to the Hoover girls starts with Nancy nearly running over Allison Hoover as Nancy drives into the barn to take shelter from the storm. The Hoover girls' storyline remains much the same as in the original 'Clock' except that Allison wants to take singing lessons instead of growing a chicken farm.

Abigail Rowen gets a little more "screen time" here after she furnishes the most important clues of the case to Nancy. From that point the story basically follows the original, but is faster in pace. Jeff Tucker, the groundskeeper for the Topham cottage where Nancy finds herself locked up, is no longer a minstrel-show-type black man, but a generic elderly man. The story concludes as it did in the original, with some minor changes to the Crowley will.