I knew that this book would be about sabotage from the very beginning since the word "saboteur" appears on the front cover.
I can also forgive Simon and Schuster for this book's sabotage, since the plot is quite interesting. This story kept me guessing as to who the culprit was. Several people were very good suspects.
I spent some time staring at the cover art for this book, which shows Nancy and Katie on a very small rubber raft. They are set afloat on it while unconscious. A one-inch tear was made in the raft by the culprit. Nancy and Katie are unconscious for some amount of time and then have a lengthy discussion about the culprit's motives. Finally, Nancy hears the hissing sound. If the raft is as small as depicted on the cover, there is no way that the girls would have been able to survive without drowning. I also find it amusing that we can actually see the air escaping from the raft.
I find it strange that George is away at a tennis clinic during a mystery that is centered around a sports competition. The story even mentions how George used to be on the team while in high school.
The early part of this book throws too many names around. Nancy and Bess discuss their old teachers from River Heights High School as they reminisce. This is all quite realistic; everyone reminisces about their old teachers. The problem was that the names meant nothing to me, and I was bored. I skimmed through those conversations.
On page 49, Nancy remembers her freshman prank.
She had decided to sneak into the basement to the master light controls and shut off the lights in the auditorium during a school assembly. Fortunately, she hadn't been caught, and no students had been harmed by the brief spell of darkness.This just seems off. I find it hard to believe that the Nancy Drew we know at age eighteen would have been pulling such a prank at age fourteen.
On pages 123 and 124, the students react to a bomb threat after they have been evacuated from the school. The students become uneasy after they realize that a bomb threat had been called in. When the students are told that they can go home early, "a halfhearted cheer arose as the kids began to leave the school grounds for the day." Um, the cheer would have been more like a resounding roar. Also, I have been in bomb threat situations in school as both a student and a teacher. Students don't typically get uneasy during bomb threats. They like missing class, and they would be thrilled to be told to go home early.
This book has a very exciting scene that occurs in River Heights High School after dark. Nancy and Bess spend the night hoping to get some clues. Nancy is chased through the school by the culprit. Scary!
I greatly enjoyed this book once I got past the boring parts from early in the story.