As I continue revisiting the early Nancy Drew books, I began reading the revised text of The Mystery at Lilac Inn. The first two chapters annoyed me, since the descriptive information is too brief and various random disruptive events occur seemingly constantly.
Once I reached Chapter 3, I began enjoying the story. The mystery about Nancy's double is sinister. The jewel theft is quite a mystery, with suspicion thrown on Maud Potter. The mystery is intriguing in all aspects. I have always greatly enjoyed the revised text of Lilac Inn, and this time was no exception.
In fact, I enjoyed this reading so much that I almost felt like I was reading one of the longer original text stories. The story seemed fuller to me than the revised texts of the first three books. Perhaps the difference is that this particular story was almost completely rewritten whereas the first three revised text stories were mainly condensed versions of the original texts, which made those stories come across as inferior.
Why would an average child during the Great Depression want to read about a girl moaning about servant problems? Perhaps girls really enjoyed learning about the problems of the upper class, but I find it really obnoxious. Even worse, every single one of the servants sent to Nancy is from a minority group and described as unsuitable. This subplot is racist, stereotypical, and not necessary.
In fact, the entire first part of this book seems off to me as compared to the first three original text books. Nancy and her acquaintances are too fixated on the problems of the upper class.
Next, we have Mrs. Willoughby and her friend, Clara Potter, who pick up Emily's jewels from the safe deposit box. They decide to take lunch at Lilac Inn with the jewels on the table inside Mrs. Willoughby's purse. The two women act nervous and talk constantly about how they hope nobody knows about the jewels. Of course everyone knows, since the women are acting so strange. Not surprisingly, the jewels are stolen. I find this part of the story to be very annoying. I cannot stand stupidity to be the reason why a theft happens.
Once I read past the theft and the immediate aftermath, I began to enjoy the story more. I found it hard to be very sympathetic to Emily, perhaps because she seems to spend too much time crying about her misfortune. I also found it hard to be sympathetic to Mrs. Willoughby, since she caused the theft of the diamonds.
Around page 80, I began to thoroughly enjoy the story. It felt like the story finally hit its stride at this point and became a good adventure and mystery. Nancy gets heavily involved in sleuthing and quits worrying about her servant problems.
In summary, I really enjoyed the revised text, except for the first two chapters. I enjoyed the original text overall, but I did not enjoy the first 80 pages as much. The stories both involve the diamond theft, but the revised text has the intriguing, dangerous plot with Nancy's double. For that reason, I prefer the revised text.