Thursday, January 17, 2013

Nancy Drew #30 The Clue of the Velvet Mask

In The Clue of the Velvet Mask, Nancy Drew works to discover who is behind a series of thefts at parties and other social events.  All of the events were run by Lightner Entertainment Company, so suspicion has fallen on Mr. Lightner.  He has requested that Mr. Drew represent him in future possible lawsuits from past clients.

Nancy befriends Linda Seeley, who works for Lightner.  Linda soon falls under suspicion, but Nancy is certain that Linda is innocent.  While Nancy has no proof, she is convinced that another employee, Mr. Tombar, is responsible.  This mystery centers around Nancy trying to outsmart the Velvet Gang, as the thieves are called.

An important subplot of this story involves George Fayne, who is kidnapped by the villains.  George is threatened by the villains, and their words frighten her so much that she is not herself for most of the story.  Usually, Nancy and her friends are never affected emotionally by their harrowing experiences.  This is an unusual example of realism in a Nancy Drew book.

On page 95 of the original text, a member of the Velvet Gang imprisons Nancy by wrapping a heavy bedspread and a bunch of coats around her.  Nancy finally manages to free herself on page 97.  Right after Nancy frees herself, a maid enters the room and asks what happened.
For the first time Nancy realized how disheveled she must look.  Her pretty pink-flowered dress was torn and rumpled.  Her hair was mussed and the pink hat lay on the floor.
Without any mention of Nancy doing anything to improve her appearance, she quickly checks the other upstairs rooms and heads downstairs.  Nancy enters the kitchen, where Mr. Tombar asks what she is doing.  Nancy tells him that she is hungry and grabs a sandwich.

Nancy acts like nothing is wrong, but her dress is torn and her hair is mussed.  Even if Nancy had smoothed her hair as she headed downstairs, her dress would not have mended by itself.

The revised text corrects this problem.   On page 77, "Nancy realized how disheveled she must look.  Her dress was rumpled and her hair mussed."  After completing the search of the other rooms, Nancy "combed her hair and smoothed her dress before going downstairs."  In this version, Nancy's dress does not get torn, and Nancy remembers to fix her hair.

On pages 124-125 of the revised text, Nancy is working in the women's coat room during a party when she realizes that she is speaking to one of the thieves.  Nancy questions the man.
"Madame is ill?  She is leaving the party so soon?  Perhaps I can help her?"

"No thanks," he replied, still keeping his face muffled in the white scarf.  "I'll attend to her."

As soon as he was gone, Nancy told the dumbfounded Hilda, "You're in charge here alone now."

Unmindful of the maid's protests, Nancy hurried down the hall in pursuit of the man carrying the green coat.
What surprised me was the use of "dumbfounded."  I felt that it did not quite match the situation.  I realized why Hilda was dumbfounded when I read the original text.

From page 152 of the original text:
"Madame is ill?  She is leaving the party so soon?  Perhaps I can help her?"

"No, thanks," he replied, still keeping his face muffled in the white scarf.  "I'll attend to her."

As soon as he was gone, Nancy took off her cap.  In its place she substituted the hat she had brought which belonged to Hannah Gruen, and slipped on the housekeeper's loose coat.

"You're in charge here alone," Nancy told the dumfounded Hilda as she darted away.  "I doubt if I'll be back."

"Well, I never!" Hilda sputtered.  "Leaving me to look after all the coats—"

Unmindful of her protests, Nancy hurried down the hall in pursuit of the man carrying the green coat.
Page 149 of the original text mentions that Nancy has a disguise of sorts, "an old loose fitting coat of Hannah's and a large hat that could be pulled down low on her head."  Hilda is understandably dumbfounded when Nancy suddenly puts on the hat and and coat and dashes off!

On page 149 of the revised text and page 180 of the original text, Nancy is blindfolded with her hands tied behind her back.  She is being led up some stairs and wants to tear a button off of her dress.  Nancy stumbles against the wall, and in that brief moment, a protruding nail just happens to connect with one of the buttons, tearing it off of her dress.  How convenient!

The Clue of the Velvet Mask is a great story in both the original and revised text versions. I thoroughly enjoyed both versions.

2 comments:

William Land said...

I enjoy both versions of Velvet Mask, with the original text being my favourite one. I always enjoy the theme of doubles and impersonators in books so I especially enjoyed reading about George's impersonation of Nancy and her being genuinely frightened in the days following the kidnapping.

Another odd scene occurs at the beginning of the book (pages 3-4). Ned doesn't want to wear the Spanish grandee costume Nancy has chosen. He describes the trousers as looking "skimpy." Carson Drew offers to help him "pour into them!" If that isn't odd enough, the text continues ... "weird sounds filtered down to Nancy and Mrs. Gruen. They were certain the costume would be ripped to shreds before Ned's muscular body could be encased in it. ..."

Just exactly were Ned and Mr. Drew doing in that upstairs bedroom? And why did Ned need help to put on his pants?

The revised text has a similar scene on page 3. Ned doesn't comment on the costume's trousers and goes to an upstairs guest room to change. Since Carson Drew isn't mentioned at this point, I assume Ned didn't need his girlfriend's father's help this time!

Cheers,
Bill
aka seriescollector

Kansas Mad Man said...

This story is my favorite (original text) of all the books, but possibly because it was the first 25 chapter book I read in a cool format (school library had the Reader's Club). The trouser incident isn't that odd to me, considering the case of pants that are too small and may need to be held out "stretched" to jump into them--ask a football player. . .

More unusual to me is the level of physical violence---the maid is tied up, Nancy is accosted on the landing, Nancy tries to chase down the wedding thief, George is kidnaped and drugged, Nancy is assaulted at the party (which reads VERY oddly in both versions---)the lecture guest is assaulted, Nancy fights the peacock thief, Ned fights the accomplice, Nancy and Bess are assaulted and kidnaped, Ned fights Tombar. . . a great deal of physical violence. I found that one issue made me irritated---George's role is greatly downplayed in the revised text climax. Nancy made a last minute change so only George could identify her clothing---her role is changed to identify only the button while Carson identifies footprints. . .