Monday, August 19, 2013

Nancy Drew #63 Twin Dilemma and #64 Captive Witness

In Nancy Drew #63, The Twin Dilemma, Nancy, Bess, and George go to New York to visit Aunt Eloise.  Upon their arrival, the girls learn that Jacqueline Henri, who is to model at a fashion benefit, is missing.  Nancy is asked to model in her place, but problems develop when it is discovered that some of the dresses have been stolen!  

I found the book engaging at the very beginning when Jacqueline is believed to be missing and when the dresses have disappeared.  Soon, it is revealed that Jacqueline's brother is instead missing.  Next, we learn that a couple of design houses have made cheap versions of designs.  Nancy and her friends investigate the design houses.  Nancy visits an auction to find out about a lion's crest.  She meets several other people, but then we learn that two of them are imposters.  That's when I became annoyed and had to begin skimming the text.

This book was written by Nancy Axelrad, and as I have noticed with the other Axelrad books, the story is too complicated.  The multiple imposters are not necessary.  Nancy refers to the imposters as a "twin dilemma."  I tend not to like books that count up how many of something or another is in the book and use that number for the title.  It's lame.  I dislike The Triple Hoax, which does the same thing.  It's like the mysteries are lacking something, so no attempt is made to find a proper title.

I was taken aback on page 88* when Nancy plans to work for one of the companies that have the knockoff designs for sale.  George is shocked because Nancy has "never worked for anybody in [her] whole life."   Actually, Nancy has taken jobs in the course of her investigations.  Furthermore, the statement seems unnecessarily derogatory towards Nancy.

After getting past the middle part of the book, I began to enjoy the book once again during the last one-fourth of the story.  So I probably enjoyed around half of the book:  the first one-fourth and the last one-fourth.

In Nancy Drew #64, Captive Witness, Nancy, Bess, and George are part of a tourist group in Europe along with Ned, Burt, and Dave.  Nancy is in Europe on assignment for her father, to try to find out what happened to a film, Captive Witness.  Nancy and her friends also become involved in an attempt to smuggle a group of children across the border from one of the Eastern European nations.

This book is not a typical Nancy Drew book, and the plot is much more like the plot of a Hardy Boys book or a James Bond film.  Nancy acts more like a boy.  She knows judo in this story, which is an accomplishment that previously only George had.  On page 15, Nancy leaps into the air while running, grabs a pipe, and brings her legs down on a man's shoulders.  Definitely strange.

The book also has some exceedingly bizarre coincidences, although they are nothing more than the coincidences of books like The Spider Sapphire Mystery.

The bus driver is a highpoint of the book.  He gets so worked up about Mozart that he nearly runs off the road.  Hilarious!

The Footlighters, the theatrical group from The Clue of the Dancing Puppet, is mentioned in this book.

I greatly enjoyed most of this story, but my enjoyment was tempered by my discomfort about how atypical this book is for a Nancy Drew book.  A lot of the events don't fit with what I expect in a Nancy Drew book.  While the story is engaging, I do not consider this book to be a very good Nancy Drew book.

*All page numbers refer to the Wanderer edition of each title.

1 comment:

sequesterednooks said...

I just read The Twin Dilemma a few months ago, and found it very confusing. I couldn't even tell what the main mystery was supposed to be.

Captive Witness, on the other hand, is one of my all-time favorites, I think because it was so action-packed. Having read several of the Wanderer Hardy Boys, I think it's a plausible theory that it was originally intended for that series.

Rebecca