Friday, May 2, 2014
Nancy Drew Girl Detective #1 Without a Trace
The Girl Detective series is not a continuation of the original Nancy Drew series, but rather, a new modernized Nancy Drew. I see Nancy Drew Girl Detective as Nancy Drew in a parallel universe. The books are a lot of fun so long as they are considered to be set in a parallel universe. To me, that is the key to enjoying the books.
In the Girl Detective series, Nancy Drew is absent-minded and often forgets to fill her car up with gas. She doesn't care whether her hair is brushed, and she often puts on mismatched clothing.
Nancy's best friends, Bess and George, still have their same basic qualities, except now George is the one who is a computer genius. George is still a tomboy, and Bess still loves clothes and flirts with every boy. Bess is now good at fixing things, such as car engines.
Ned is still Nancy's boyfriend, and he loves to read. He isn't that interested in mysteries, but he fully supports Nancy when she has a mystery to solve. Ned's father publishes the River Heights Bugle.
Nancy has a new rival, Deirdre Shannon. Deirdre was in Nancy's class in school, and Deirdre's father is a prominent attorney. Deirdre plays dirty tricks on Nancy and her friends all the time. It seems that Deirdre must have met Lettie Briggs of the Dana Girls series at some point in the past. She knows all of Lettie's moves.
In Nancy Drew Girl Detective #1, Without a Trace, Nancy investigates the theft of a Fabergé egg while she tries to find out who trampled Mr. Safer's zucchini plants.
I found it quite jarring reading the opening chapters of this book after reading so many Nancy Drew books in third-person. After around 30 to 40 pages, the book completely captivated me. I can tell that they spent a lot of time working to make this an engaging book with lots of humor. The book is rich in description. River Heights really comes alive.
Also, the zucchini subplot is not that different from the sort of mystery that Trixie Belden would solve. The Trixie Belden books have great descriptions of everyday life, and Trixie finds mystery even where there is not much of a mystery. I am thinking of the game preserve mystery in Trixie Belden and the Mystery Off Glen Road. That book is wonderful.
Sure, the plot is different for a Nancy Drew book, but it's a welcome change. I found it hard to slog through most of the last six Nancy Drew Digest books, and after I got into the first person dialogue, I enjoyed the changes brought by this book. This book is rich in characterization and description of everyday life, just like the Trixie Belden books.
This is not the Nancy Drew of #1-56 or even of #57-175. This is a new Nancy Drew.