A wee while ago, when tra-la-la-la-ing over to Nostalgia-Land, I reviewed three Nancy Drew mysteries. Yes, I admit I’m kinda hooked because, since then, three more have been happily perused.
Still enjoying the series—but the “classic” ones (read during youth) as opposed to the “newer” ones (revamped in the 70s). Dear Nancy’s still an effective de-stresser. <LOL> And I still kind of wish I could be her. What a blast it would be to detect and travel all the time. And who wouldn’t love to have a father like Carson Drew, a gentle soul of gent who encourages his beloved child to do both, and then some? Find a full-time job and settle down? Surely you jest?
Mystery of the Moss-Covered Mansion (The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion)
Nancy’s father, a successful and well-respected lawyer, asks his amateur-sleuth daughter to assist proving his friend, Mr. Billington, is innocent—of sending a truck stocked with explosive oranges (!) into Cape Kennedy’s Space Center. Off to Florida father and daughter fly—with best friends George and Bess gleefully in tow.
The old version has the gals locating a missing heiress, where they chance upon a moss-covered mansion and hear strange sounds coming from the property. The cast of characters/suspects included gypsies, an old woman, and a withdrawn artist. In the newer version, we have the somber moss-festooned mansion, but African animals roam the property; an unpleasant trainer keeps the poor creatures in line. Characters/suspects this time include a surly couple that oversee the Billington estate, an array of orange growers and pickers, and a snarky realtor.
Not a bad read. But storylines, even minor ones, that deal with caged animals I can do without. On a brighter note, I did learn a little about oranges (who knew there were so many varieties?). Despite the determined and dangerous endeavors by “questionable sorts” to undercut the space program, the excitement level isn’t quite there. My rating is a generous 3 out of 5.
The Secret of the Wooden Lady
This was more the Nancy I remembered from youth. A thrilling adventure takes place on an old, kind of creepy, clipper ship with lots of fog to provide fun/eerie spookiness. Add hidden compartments and secret passageways, and a missing figurehead, and you’ve got an exciting YA mystery. Ah, and let’s not forget the requisite crusty but kind-hearted captain.
Exciting exploits ensue the moment Bess’ home is burgled. Who would break into the Marvins’ home and thrust dear cowardly Bess into a closet? What about Captain Easterly and the spectral visits on his hope-to-buy Bonny Scot? Mr. Drew solicits the help of Nancy, Bess and George and the trio travel to Massachusetts to stay on the ship and discover the truth. Fire, theft, ransacking, and the aforementioned ghostly visits have the girls searching land and sea for answers to a threesome of mysteries.
Mystery #1: What are the motives of these uninvited, nefarious persons? Mystery #2: Can Nancy discover the history of the ship to ensure the captain receives a clear title? Mystery #3: Where is the original figurehead? Might she be the reason for the mysterious goings on? Wooden Lady is everything a solid Nancy Drew mystery should be. It deserves a 5.5 out of 5.
The Mystery of the Brass-Bound Trunk
In the original, Nancy has a few mysteries to solve, including a trunk company’s substandard product. As memory serves, this was one of my favorites back in the day and I’d read it several times. In the 70s version, Nancy and best friends Bess and George sail to NYC from the Netherlands (those lucky gals). A young woman, Nelda, shares their cabin. When a strange trunk is delivered instead of Nancy’s, a number of people resolve to gain access. The four women are drawn into a perplexing mystery that involves smuggled jewelry and stolen South African documents.
Who had set up Nelda to take the fall for a theft? Why are two enigmatic men using sign language to communicate? Is a devious and determined jewelry-smuggling gang walking the decks?
Who doesn’t enjoy a mystery set on the high seas? It’s a [sea]worthy 4 out of 5.