Monday, September 2, 2013
Nancy Drew #69 Ancient Disguise and #70 Broken Anchor
Bess and George are the only friends who appear in this book.
This book was written by James Lawrence, who had previously written the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift, Jr. books. The book has a definite Stratemeyer Syndicate flavor, with a swarthy villain. In fact, both "swarthy" and "keen" are used excessively in this book. I also spotted a reference to an old mill and a brass-bound trunk. Possibly all of this is coincidence, but I tend to think not.
This book is written well, but like some of the other Wanderer books, it suffers from too many characters. Every few pages someone new is mentioned. I kept track until around halfway into the book, and by that point, 18 people had been introduced into the story, and this does not include Nancy, Bess, George, Carson Drew, and Hannah. The books with too many characters are the ones I do not like as much.
While this book is overall good, the large character base took away from my enjoyment significantly. The solution to the mystery goes on and on, so I skimmed much of the last couple of chapters. By that point, I was bored, and I did not care. Besides, I was eager to begin #70, which I remembered as a favorite.
This book is a straightforward mystery and adventure story and is the type of book that I like the best. I have said in the past that I like the books set around River Heights the best. It isn't really that so much as I like books that only have a few characters and involve Nancy having exciting adventures while investigating some location. The Broken Anchor is that kind of book.
Nancy and her friends end up stranded on Anchor Island with no means to call for help or escape. They know that someone else is on the island with them, always watching them, and that Bess is missing. The early Nancy Drew books, original text 1930, are like that.
Books like Clue in the Ancient Disguise are more like big-time detective stories with Nancy questioning everyone in River Heights plus all of their distant relatives and acquaintances. Those kind of stories are not as interesting to me.
I enjoyed every single passage on every page of The Broken Anchor. I was never bored, and I eagerly turned each page to see what would happen next. The book has the feel of a classic series book from the 1930s. Of the Nancy Drew digest books that I have revisited so far, I place #70 The Broken Anchor as the very best one. #70 is followed by #58 and then #62, #68, #67, and #64, in that exact order. I have little regard for the other early digest books and have no desire to ever read any of them again.