Alo-Ha-Waiiiiiii Once Again

Hey, it’s Rey!  So, per my Hawaii post suggestion, Linda took it one step further: the three of us had to feature our favorite Hawaiian author or Hawaiian-themed story.  I’m not a reader, but given The Boss’ love of Nancy Drew, I grabbed The Secret of the Golden Pavilion (I do so like an “easy” read).

This is the 36th book in the series, penned by Carolyne Keene (the pseudonym of many authors) back in 1959.  The mystery finds Nancy and her housekeeper, Hannah, and her pals, George and Bess (and beaus Ned, Dave, and Burt) on our beautiful Islands, formerly known as The Sandwich Islands, by the way (I do pick up facts now and then, he-he).

The case involves an old golden pavilion—no surprise there, he-he.  Someone has been hacking the floor.  Maybe in search of something?  Mr. Sakamaki, Carson Drew’s client, provides the pretty sleuth with two mysterious symbols, possible clues to solving his mystery . . . one of two, actually.  Two claimants, a brother and sister, have suddenly appeared in connection with settling Mr. Sakamaki’s estate, known as Kaluakua, which he inherited from his granddad.  Hmmm.  Are they the real deal?

In addition to learning about the history of the Islands and indulging in a luau and visiting cultural locations/places.  There’s never a dull moment, either . . .

Nancy turned on the television set and tuned it to the proper channel.  The telecast had barely started when the announcer electrified the Drews with a news bulletin which he said had just been received by the station.

“Word has come,” he began, “of a plane in trouble over the Pacific.  It is one which was chartered by a group of students from Emerson College.”

“Oh, Dad!” Nancy cried out fearfully.  “That’s the plane that Ned and Dave and Burt are on!”

Ooooh, will they crash?  You’ll just have to read the book to find out, won’t you?

Aloha everyone!  And Happy Holidays!

The Mystery of the Latter Years

Hey-ho, it’s Rey.  The Boss is working on an editing assignment today.  Linda and Cousin Jilly are a bit miffed that I got post patrol today, but I didn’t exactly hear them eagerly volunteer.  I’m so enjoying this now, I can’t help but jump at the chance to blog.

Our boss likes those Nancy Drew mysteries so much (says they help “calm” her during major bouts of stress), I got motivated and borrowed a few.  I really got to like them; small wonder, seeing as I’m a private eye.  He-he. 

Seems, though, that the young amateur sleuths are like forever 18.  That gave me an awesome, fun idea!  Why not feature the young detective and her best chums, Bess Marvin and George Fayne—years later

What would they be doing at the age of 30?  Still traveling around the world solving mysteries, enjoying those not-too-shabby allowances?  Linda and JJ liked the idea, so they’re not miffed anymore.  Here’s our take, starting with my BFF.


WPNancyUseNancy decided to go to law school in her early 20s and then partnered with her father for a couple of years.  At 30, Nancy opted for criminal law, and recently set her sights on becoming a DA.  Ned Nickerson stopped pining for her after graduating from university (when she turned down his marriage proposal not once but thrice).  Multi-skilled and never shying from challenges, she’s also working on a part-time medical degree.

Bess married Dave Evans, her sweetheart, and had three children.  They moved to a small town in Iowa, where he currently serves as a high-school football coach.  She remains a stay-at-home mom, designing and sewing clothes for the family when she’s not preparing meals based on famous chefs’ recipes (she has a cookbook collection that, at last count, stood at 589).

George studied Sports Management and opened a small sports marketing firm.  She did so well, she moved to NYC at the age of 27 to open an agency.  She just married a well-known sports announcer, who shall remain nameless for the time being (the wedding was made known to a select few, given a very messy divorce).  George and hubby have just adopted two Shelties—Moon and Stone—and a cross-eyed tabby named Larkspur.


Nancy had no desire to marry Ned Nickerson, despite his persistent proposals.  She actually ended up marrying Detective Bridge Blackwood, who she met when solving a mystery that involved her housekeeper’s kidnapping.  When Blackwood didn’t agree with her decision to pursue a career as a police officer, she divorced him and has had no regrets.  She’s currently—and most happily—a Maine Police Trooper.

WPBessUseBess threw off that towel of timidity and opted for pursuing a business career.  She moved to Los Angeles at the age of 20, where she attended culinary school.  Proving a talented cook, she opened a small diner—with much success.  She’s now a well-known Food Network star with a weekly half-hour show called “Bess in Show”.

George moved to Paris to study art.  She’d always been a decent sketcher, but had never had the time—or the inclination—to do anything with that talent until she met an aspiring watercolor painter at a family picnic.  Jean-Pierre swept George off her feet and she followed him to France.  One thing led to another and both are doing exceptionally well, thanks to the three-story gallery they opened last year.

Me (Rey):

Nancy opened a professional P.I. agency when her dad agreed to finance it.  It proved successful.  How could it not, considering she’d made a name for herself, not just locally, but around the world?  The agency did so well in fact that two years ago she opened an office in Seattle and there’ll be one in Los Angeles soon.  She married Ned a few months after he graduated university, but the marriage only lasted a year.  They’re still friends, though.  Sorta.

Bess became a plus-figure model at the age of 20 when a famous fashion photographer bumped into her—literally—as she was leaving an ice-cream shop.  Her triple-scoop cone ended up on his Prada shoes.  They both found it funny and Fate (Cupid) stepped in.  She’s still modeling and has just opened a boutique in Boston, where she moved with the photographer after they got married last year.

WPGeorgeUseGeorge is still living in River Heights and enjoying her job as a phys-ed teacher.  She married Burt Eddleton, who owns his own electronics shop.  This “unadventurous” life suits her just fine.  She stays in touch with Nancy and Bess, and the three are planning on taking a ten-day Caribbean cruise.

Yeah, 18 is fun . . . but not forever.  

Say it Ain’t So!!!

As a Nancy Drew fan, I purposely avoided reading the news about her demise.  But, curiosity being what it is, I finally gave in.  WPNancydeadDynamiteEntertainment2A

Whew!  She doesn’t actually die . . . well, maybe, maybe not.  Per the New York Times:

“A new comic book series imagines that Nancy has been killed, infuriating some fans of the unstoppable teen detective who made her debut 90 years ago.”  (The optimum word here, people, is “imagines”.)

Yes, 90!  Can you believe our pretty, spunky young sleuth has been around for nearly a century (and sold nearly 80 million books)?  As an FYI, the brainchild of Edward Stratemeyer, Nancy’s mystery-solving adventures were penned under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene for decades.

More from NYT:

“The forthcoming comic book series “Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys: The Death of Nancy Drew!” was intended to commemorate the publication in April 1930 of the first Nancy Drew book by putting a noirish spin on the classic tale of the roadster-driving, truth-seeking sleuth from River Heights.

But the possibility that Nancy — whose pluck and valor have helped her triumph over villains since the Great Depression — was murdered infuriated some of her passionate fans . . .”

Per CNN Entertainment, “Some fans criticized the decision to apparently “fridge” Nancy Drew in her own series. “Fridging” is a comic book trope in which a female character is killed to build a male character’s development and motivation.”

And per CTV News: “Nancy Drew is dead! Or so it seems,” teases publisher Dynamite in a press release. “Through twists and turns, this dark noir-infused story unfurls as the biggest Nancy Drew mystery of all time.”  (“Seems” and “teases” certainly suggest her return.)

Some claim it’s a marketing ploy.  Hopefully.  I’d hate to think my favorite detective is no more.  She’s been part of my life—as she has for countless others—for many, many years.  She’s rather like family and losing a beloved family member is beyond tragic.

So I’m going to firmly hold the faith that Nancy will be back to sleuth for 90 more!  (Please say it is so, folks!)

Return to Drew-Land

Last year I returned to Nancy Drew mysteries—Nostalgia-Land—rereading books I loved as a kid.

Before the holidays (pressie to self), I ordered a box set—1 through 10—and had a chance to read a few.  Given the ol’ stress level, the revisit to Nostalgia-Land/Drew-Land was a welcome break . . . and much needed escape.

Here are reviews for the first three in the long-established series.

The Secret of the Old Clock

This story was first written in 1930 and then rewritten in 1959.  Nancy aged two years, going from 16 to 18, and received a personality readjustment. WPNancyABB

Our young sleuth is asked to help the Crowley family, courtesy of her fondness for a young girl being raised by the not-in-their-prime Turner sisters, Mary and Edna.  The snobby and snotty Tophams, who took in Josiah Crowley during his later years, are certain they’ll inherit everything . . . but, as Fate would have it, there’s a new will.  It leaves money to some very much deserving people.  Enter Nancy.  Will she be able to locate the legal declaration?  Where will she look?  In an old clock that Edna said Josiah had once mentioned?  Which one!?

Best friends Bess and George aren’t on the scene yet, but Helen Corning is.  She seems a bit flat, but maybe it’s because I like the cousins; they have personality.  It receives a 2.5. out of 5 because Nancy is on her own a lot and there’s way too much “thinking”.

The Hidden Staircase

WPNancyABCGood friend Helen Corning, now engaged, asks Nancy to help solve the mystery of Twin Elms, her grandmother’s supposedly haunted house.  Before she and Aunt Rosemary arrive at Nancy’s home, a man arrives and advises the pretty detective that her father is in danger because of the railroad case he’s working on.

Despite a dangerous incident, Mr. Drew tells his daughter to go to Twin Elms.  Once there, Miss Flora tells Nancy about a ghost, how things are disappearing and strange things are occurring.  Music plays suddenly, a chandelier swings on its own accord, and a mask appears at a window.  Yup.  Bizarre goings-on indeed.  Intrigued, Nancy investigates the house inside and out . . . and eventually discovers a hidden staircase.  I won’t share where; you’ll have to read the book.

There’s also the subplot where Mr. Drew disappears and it’s feared the famous lawyer has been drugged and kidnapped.  This new and urgent mystery demands Nancy’s attention.  This one gets 3.5 out of 5 (I like “haunted” places).

The Bungalow Mystery

WPNancyAmazonDOTcom2The third story in the fun series starts with Nancy and good friend Helen on a boat during a storm.  A very ugly storm.   They capsize, but are rescued by Laura Pendleton, a fellow boater.  The trio row to a cove and head to a bungalow that Laura had noticed earlier.  They find food in a pantry; how lucky is that?  As the threesome dry off and warm up, they get to know one another.  Young Laura tells them she will be meeting her guardians—Mr. and Mrs. Aborn—at a local hotel, and then live with them in their home on Melrose Lake.

The Aborns are not the nicest folks and soon Laura calls Nancy to ask for help.  She escapes the room she’s been locked in and finds herself at the Drew house.  Fortunately, she took her mother’s valuable jewels with her . . . but that won’t stop the Aborns from trying to get them.  Whatever the cost.

Our resolute sleuth gets caught up in chases and explosions, and discovers the truth about the Aborns.  Missing money and securities are located, and crooks nabbed.  I’d give this a 2 out of 5 (it had some snoozer moments).

Definitely nothing wrong with visiting Nostalgia-Land or Drew-Land.  Enjoy(ed) them both and looking forward to doing so again!


An Amateur Sleuth by Any Other Name . . . Wouldn’t be Nancy Drew

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. 


Still Lovin’ Nancy

Not long ago, I reviewed three Nancy Drew mysteries as part of a stopover in Nostalgia-Land.  Another visit—er, post—seemed in order, given I’d read three more of the YA mysteries.

Mom-care is becoming increasingly more challenging and leaving less time for me to do much for myself.  So when Mom is taking a nap, Nancy proves the perfect quick and easy read.  I’m transported back to a quiet childhood time when life was perhaps no less stressful but, somehow, simpler.

The first two are originals from the 60s while the third features a new 70s cover and is “modernized”.  For example, in the old books, Nancy’s titian-haired (brownish-orange) while in the newer ones, she’s reddish-blond.  Male cops no longer rule supreme.  And lo and behold, instead of frequently wearing dresses/frocks, the girls regularly sport jeans.

The Clue of the Dancing Puppet

A mysterious dancing puppet haunts the grounds of an old mansion, where the Footlighters’ playhouse is also located.  Amateur sleuths Nancy, Bess, and George are enlisted to help solve the case and this time we’re whisked away to the world of community theater.  The dancing-puppet mystery has added dimensions: an erratic self-absorbed leading lady and an overly charming (if not cheesy) Shakespearean actor.  Along with Nancy’s searches for clues, two jewel thieves show up on the scene.   Not a bad read; not a great read.  The keep-your-constant-interest component isn’t quite there.  A 3.5 out of 5.

The Clue of the Broken Locket

Interestingly enough, this was first written in 1934.  When I looked at the copyright page, I saw the very early date and had to check it out.  The premise back then: when adopted parents can’t take care of baby twins, Nancy goes searching for the legal birth mother with the help of a broken locket.

The newer version has two lookalike cousins (who, of course, don’t know about each other initially).  There’s a ghostly launch—love those spooky apparitions!—and a mysterious mansion that goes by the great name of Pudding Stone Lodge.  We have some sinister persons who make mystery-solving difficult for Nancy, Bess and George, and there’s record pirating to boot.  The trio certainly have their sleuthing skills put to the test.  Luckily, they have some assistance from their favorite beaus: Ned, Dave, and Burt.  I liked this one a lot.  A definite 4.5 out of 5.

The Clue in the Crumbling Wall

Our young enthusiastic sleuths—Nancy, Bess and George—have a twofold mission this time.  Not only must they endeavor to locate an inheritance concealed in the walls of dilapidated Heath Castle, they have to track down the beneficiary of a will before the proviso expires.  The grounds of the estate have a maze, a multitude of crumbling walls, and a couple of watchdogs (real ones, as well as human ones).  A 4 out of 5.  (In terms of Nancy, I suppose I’m a traditionalist: I prefer the “originals”.  It’s all about revisiting fond memories in Nostalgia-Land.) WPNDuse1

. . . Yeah, still lovin’ [needin’] the escape.

Who Doesn’t Like a Little Inspiration?

A wee while back I posted about Nancy Drew, the amateur sleuth who inspired me to write mysteries.

Feeling nostalgic, I ordered a few of the many I’d read as a kid (gotta love Amazon).  Written in the 50s and 60s by Carolyn Keene, a pseudonym of the various authors that wrote both Nancy Drew mysteries and The Dana Girls mysteries, they were “frolicsome” adventures for the young [aspiring] Sherlock within.

Having read three so far, the ones I recall having been my favorites back then, I thought I’d provide then-and-now reviews.

The Haunted Showboat

The first Nancy Drew read by yours truly had me so riveted, I spent the entire weekend in my bedroom with it.  It took me to New Orleans, which sounded so exotic to a kid living in cold, gray Toronto.  It provided action and excitement, a world where a “girl” could lead an exciting adventurous life, have (and easily make) friends.  She was pretty, smart, and oh so [enviably] likable; with two affable sidekicks, Bess and George, a darling dad and kind housekeeper, life seemed more than perfect.  While solving the mystery with them, I learned a few facts, too.  It was a 5/5.

I have to admit—YA writing style aside—it was still an enjoyable read, save for some politically incorrect words/terms/portrayals.  During the period, using them in books or on TV seemed the norm; today, whoa, not at all acceptable.  Ignorance of the times?  A topic for another post.  A 3/5 (for taking me back to the bayou).

The Clue in the Old Stagecoach

Nancy, Bess and George attend Camp Merriweather where the trio attempt to locate—yup—a clue in an old stagecoach.  In fact, finding it might just help save a town.  They detect while pursuing camp fun and encountering requisite villains—which is somewhat reminiscent of those 60s beach flicks with cute crooning Frankie and perfectly-coiffed Annette.  Must be nice to have moneyed parents that can send you to fun/faraway places.  <LOL>  The trio—with the assistance of their ever-faithful beaus—solve the case with stellar results, natch.  I’d probably have given it a 4/5 back then.

Stagecoach wasn’t quite what I remembered.  Flat and not overly eventful (with some annoying characters), a 1/5 would be about the best I could offer today.

The Moonstone Castle Mystery

This one accompanied me to Germany when my mother and I flew over to attend her mom’s funeral.  It had the same drawing power as Haunted Showboat and I was captivated as the three young women traveled to Deep River to locate a girl missing since childhood.  Yes, there was a moonstone (a gift sent to Nancy by someone unknown) and a mysterious, rundown castle reputed to be haunted.  A sundry of exciting events occurred, including the stealing of our titian-haired detective’s car, a chase or two, and some questionable characters.  Oh, of course, the aforementioned beaus made an appearance again—for that “romantic” component I suppose (but, quite frankly, unnecessary).  It was a 5/5 then and is a 4/5 now.

As an only child with few friends and parents who didn’t much know what to do with a child they’d not planned for (a fact and not stated with malice or regret) the stories provided pure escapism—distant and intriguing places, and opportunities to allow [a burgeoning] imagination to develop.


What a pleasant diversion these last two weeks have been, an entertaining [if not enlightening] jaunt back in time.  There are a few additional Nancy Drew mysteries to read.  As time permits.  Perhaps there’ll be more reviews, too.  <LOL>

For those penning and/or reading mysteries, happy sleuthing.

The Journey . . . Back

Hey there.  Okay, so I’m finally getting there re “Forever Poi”, which got me to thinking about my next post.  Should it be on marketing?  Promo plans?  Hopes and dreams re the fourth Triple Threat Investigation Agency book and the series?

All sound fine, and I can certainly put pen to paper—er, fingers to keyboard—for any one of them.  The question is: can I [truly] do any marketing or promotion, given what’s happening in my life right now?  Maybe.  If I could survive on two hours of sleep a day.  <LOL>

So, that got me to thinking some more (yeah, it did prove a little taxing on the ol’ gray matter) and that took me back to where it all began—i.e. what got me started loving and writing mysteries.  Nancy Drew.

Remember her?  She was a young detective who resided in River Heights.  Well-to-do, she had a supportive father, who was also a lawyer, and a kindly housekeeper who provided motherly support.  Nancy solved mysteries around the globe with best friends, Bess and George.  The two were cousins, but polar opposites.  While Bess was timid and leaned toward pudgy (the way I remember), George was athletic and, as her name suggested, a tomboy.  Nancy’s beau was Ned Nickerson.  Let’s see if memory prevails.  Dave was Bess’ boyfriend and . . . right, Burt was George’s.

My first Nancy Drew mystery, which will always hold a very fond place in my heart was The Haunted Showboat.  I can still visualize the murky, marshy bayou, hear the birds in the twisting branches and creatures clambering in the foliage, and smell the molding wood and dense vegetation.  . . . What an awesome journey back in time this is turning out to be. NancyDrewuse1

I just took a gander re Showboat and learned it was the 35th book in the series.  Spunky Nancy first appeared in 1930 (who’d have guessed she dated back that far?).  As a bit of FYI trivia, publisher Edward Stratemeyer featured her in a series as a “counterpart” to the Hardy Boys (which I also read, but with less zeal).

Carolyn Keene wrote all the books, but the name was actually a pseudonym for several authors.  “She”, by the by, also penned the Dana Girls mystery series.  Oddly, I never really got into them, though I did regularly play the Dana Girls board game with a friend.  OMG—recall/flashback!  I’d forgotten all about those days.

Thank you, Nancy, for setting me on the path to writing mysteries.  I couldn’t have done it without you.  . . . And thank you, followers, for allowing me to travel back and share a period of my life that was genuinely enjoyable.


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