Thursday, March 31, 2011
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!