Friday, June 29, 2012

Nancy Drew #24 The Clue in the Old Album

In Nancy Drew #24, The Clue in the Old Album, Nancy is asked to find out what happened to a missing doll. Mrs. Struthers recalls that her daughter's last request was for her to find a missing doll and that there was a "clue in the old album."

Nancy learns that Enid Struthers was married to Romano Pepito, a gypsy who apparently abandoned Enid and her daughter, Rose. Rose now lives with her grandmother, Mrs. Struthers. Rose is out of control and needs a father figure.

Mrs. Struthers tells Nancy about a strange quote from the album which sounds ominous.
The source of light will heal all ills, but a curse will follow him who takes it from the gypsies!
This is a very enjoyable mystery. I did have a few moments of confusion due to how both texts presented Enid Struthers' last words. One page gives what "almost her last words were" and another page gives "her last words." Then Nancy refers to the "almost her last words" as "her last words." Ugh. I read through this part more than once in both texts, since it kept confusing me. The "almost last words" had to do with the missing doll and the "last words" had to do with the clue in the old album... I think.

Nancy and George are the two who hear the story about the "almost last words" and "last words," and Mrs. Struthers makes them promise to tell no one. Yet, Bess helps solve the mystery in the rest of the book. Nothing is ever mentioned about getting permission to tell Bess, but I don't know that Bess ever indicates that she knows about Enid's last words. However, Bess had to have been told or else she would have had no idea what was going on. This seems strange.

I am pretty sure that the original text of Old Album is the first appearance of Nancy's Aunt Eloise Drew in the series. It is hard for me to keep track, since I am reading the revised and original texts at the same time. Aunt Eloise has shown up in revised texts of earlier titles, but those revised texts came after this original text.

The revised text, page 144, mentions "the manufacture of television apparatus." "Television apparatus" is a bizarre phrase for nowadays, and I can't help but feel that it is a little strange for 1977. Not surprisingly, those words come from the 1947 text. More is mentioned in the 1947 text on page 180 that was removed from the revised text. Bill mentions in the original text that Thomas Smith is going to be televised and that "unless someone tells him, he won't even know about it. The new equipment we installed is marvelous."

Huh. I guess they had hidden cameras in 1947...

The original text has a subplot in which Nancy buys a boat so that she, Bess, and George can compete in a race. The girls sail the boat home and encounter a storm. Later, Nancy leaves Bess and George after calling home and learning of a crisis at the Struthers home. This then causes Nancy to go after Bess and George later when they fail to return with the boat. The original text concludes with the actual boat race, and I'm sure you can guess whether the girls win, even if you have not read the book.

The entire boat subplot is missing from the revised text, which made it rather easy for the Syndicate to shorten the book from 25 chapters to 20 chapters. Very little text from the main mystery was removed, so the main part of the story is equally good in both texts.

Some minor parts of the boat subplot do remain in the revised text, such as a picnic that Nancy attends with Rose and an incident in which Nancy gets forced off the road near the yacht club.

I equally enjoyed both the original and revised text versions of this story. The boat subplot is an interesting part of the original text, so the original text is a slighter better story.

1 comment:

Shelley said...

I have vague recollections of either 'radium' or 'uranium' being mentioned in the text of the original version, though I may be mistaken. Considering that at the time this was written, my father would have been undergoing 'treatments' to cure asthma by exposing his chest to radiation (which produced malignant tumors 40 years later), so it would be in keeping with the still positive feelings people had about this mostly unknown element, beyond the 'go boom' part. I have friends who remember being told to go play with the foot x-ray machine at the shoe store while their mothers shopped!