Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk: Nancy Drew Mystery Stories by Carolyn Keene

The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk: Nancy Drew Mystery Stories
220 pages
Published February 1940 by Grosset Dunlap
Source: I have no idea--this one just appeared on my daughter's bookshelf. It has my sister's name in it so clearly it was hers at some point but I don't know how it got to my house. Or how an edition actually published in 1940 ended up in the hands of a child of the 1960's.

Teen sleuth Nancy Drew is preparing for a trip to South America. She and her friends Bess & George (a girl--this was the 1940's after all) are planning on traveling with a group from a private girls' school.  But just before she leaves a number of things happen that begin the mystery wheels turning. A cat gets left on Nancy's doorstep. A mother of one of the girls from the school stops by and demands that Nancy not go on the ship (again--it's the 1940's; no airplane for these girls), and a young man runs into Nancy's car. Unrelated? You might well think so unless you've read a Nancy Drew book before. Then you'll know that all of these things will sooner or later tie together.

The girls decide that even though they won't go with the group from the school, they will not be deprived of their trip Suddenly Nancy figures out where the cat from and it just so happens that the woman who sent the cat has gone off to South America; she then agrees to act as a chaperon once the girls arrive and the girls are off and running. A mishap with a trunk that Mr. Drew has bought Nancy for the trip causes the girls to have to leave earlier than planned leaving them plenty of time for more odd things to happen. The stepfather of the girl who was to have nothing to do with Nancy comes into the picture, a girl Nancy is supposed to befriend at the behest of her father seems to want nothing to do with her, and that pesky trunk continues to cause problems. Things really heat up once the girls arrive in Buenos Aires with more and more mysterious characters and danger.

Of course, this being Nancy Drew and a book written for girls ages 8-12, you know that there is no real danger and that in the end, Nancy will solve the mystery. I was pleasantly surprised to discover, however, that even though a lot of the clues were available to me, I really wasn't able to put all of the pieces together and figure out how all of the mysteries tied together. The language was a bit stilted by today's standards, the kids were a bit too clean cut, and a lot of things clearly date the book. But the story itself holds up, with plenty to think about and a lot of action.

I quite enjoyed the juxtaposition between Nancy and Stephanie Plum which I finished just before this one. You could hardly find two more diverse characters or two more beloved characters!


  1. I loved Nancy Drew so much that I'm kind of afraid to go back and to read one again; afraid that I will find it too silly. But you've sort of given me hope here! I especially love that you couldn't put the pieces together. Maybe I'll try one after all!

  2. I don't think I have read a Nancy Drew mystery in quite a long, long time! I used to have a lot of them, and would love to have my original collection back. It was passed down from my mother to me. Great review! I am glad to hear that this book held up well for you!

  3. Nancy Drew's were my favorites when I was young! I remember them fondly.

  4. I've never read any Nancy Drew! I keep meaning to!

  5. Nancy Drew is amazing. She can do anything.

  6. Thanks for that moment of nostalgia. I wonder how many female readers of a certain age fell in love with reading over Nancy Drew? I'm so glad girls are still reading these books.

  7. I loved Nancy Drew...I read all of these books over the course of a summer!!