Sunday, April 21, 2013

Nancy Drew #44 The Clue in the Crossword Cipher

In Nancy Drew #44, The Clue in the Crossword Cipher, Carla Ponce invites Nancy Drew and her friends to come to Peru to solve the mystery of her wooden plaque that has a crossword cipher carved into it.  The cipher is hundreds of years old and features a strange message on one side and a monkey on the other.

A gang of criminals, headed by the mysterious El Gato, has been harassing Carla.  As soon as Carla invites Nancy to Peru, the criminals begin harassing Nancy as well.  El Gato and his allies continue annoying Nancy and her friends in South America as they work towards solving the mystery.

These later Nancy Drew books tend to feature villains that chase after Nancy constantly.  This book is no exception, but at least the chronology makes more sense than in some of the other books.  The villains were already after Carla Ponce's wooden plaque and harassing her.  When Carla enlists Nancy's help, the villains quite naturally begin harassing Nancy as well. Fortunately, they do not begin harassing Nancy before she knows about the mystery.

In Peru, Nancy is told to check with a man who sells wooden products in Lima.  His assistant just happens to be Luis Llosa, which is a strange coincidence.  Luis Llosa is the villain who is after Carla's wooden plaque.

On page 78, Señora Violetta is at police headquarters with Nancy and her friends.  After they leave, they go to a church service and then back to the hotel.  I find it strange that this woman who just met the girls takes them to church.  Page 78 also has a mistake in which Señora Violetta suddenly becomes Señor Violetta.

On page 80, Nancy is standing near a door of the plane when the door comes open.  Nancy is nearly sucked out of the plane, but of course she isn't.  In real life, I think she would have been sucked out, and that would have been the end of Nancy.

The girls go sightseeing at the ruins of Machu Picchu.  On page 108, the villain paints a large red cat on the ruins when the girls aren't looking.  Really?  Couldn't he do better than that?

On page 121, Bess is told that her weight must be more than 100 pounds since the alpaca carrying her refuses to stand up.  Bess grins and refuses to reveal her weight.  Making a big deal out of Bess weighing more than 100 pounds seems odd to me.  All of the girls would have to weigh above 100 pounds unless they all have small frames and are under around 4' 10".  Somehow, I doubt that all of them are that small.

On page 123, Nancy sees "a huge bundle of thatch rolling at fast speed in her direction."  When the thatch reaches her, "Nancy gave a mighty leap and hurdled the bundle."  Wow.  Nancy must be some athlete.  I guess we already knew that.

On page 149, Luis Llosa throws a bomb with a lighted fuse into the room where Nancy is.  The bomb is thrown towards Nancy.  Needless to say, Nancy does not have a scratch on her.  When Bess exclaims about how lucky Nancy is, Nancy comments that she "doubted that the bomb could have killed her."  Really, Nancy, you can't be serious.  Sadly, I'm sure Harriet Adams was serious when she wrote that.

I enjoyed this story more than I did The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes or The Mystery of the 99 Steps, but I still did not enjoy it very much.  This is a travelogue book and the type of Nancy Drew book that I never like quite as much as the ones set in River Heights.

1 comment:

L E Hartter said...

The bomb illustration is amusing to me. One element I liked was that Carla went undercover as an "adult" in the casino, instead of Nancy, Bess, or George. When Nancy was missing, though, I was annoyed that she was just doing an interview. I find it odd that the girls went pyramid climbing in dresses. . . and the paint throwing was weird. Yes, this is a travelogue. And many odd points.