Friday, October 8, 2010

The Adventurous Allens Afloat

At the beginning of The Adventurous Allens Afloat, the Allens hasten their departure from Michigan in their new yacht in order to protect a runaway girl. Adra Spencer has amnesia and believes that mean Mr. Spencer is not her real father. Adra remembers being in the hospital due to some type of accident but has no other memories of her past.

Under the cover of darkness, the Nancy Allen departs for its ultimate destination of Florida. On board are Philip, Nancy, Jimmy, and Marjorie, who are the four Adventurous Allens. Adra Spencer is hidden in one of the cabins. Newlyweds Pat and Ann Mary Ryan also depart on the yacht as the Allens' crew.

The Allens remain cautious, assuming that Mr. Spencer is suspicious about what happened to Adra. Shortly into the journey, Nancy and Marjorie purchase a wig and new clothes for Adra so that she can leave the ship on excursions. The Allens soon learn that their fears are well-founded. Not only has Mr. Spencer hired some men to shadow the Allens, Mr. Spencer himself soon appears. Later, the Allens discover Adra's real father, and Adra is reunited with him.

In time, the Allens arrive in New York City where they visit some friends of the Curtis family. They find themselves still followed by Mr. Spencer's henchmen and are constantly on the alert.

The Allens soon have a dilemma when they find that too many of their acquaintances expect to travel south to Florida on the yacht. Even worse, some of the hopeful travelers are not well liked by the Allens.

This story is suspenseful with the constant worry about Mr. Spencer and whether he or one of his men will catch up with the Allens. I also found the Allens' discomfort while visiting the Curtis' friends to be interesting. From pages 177-178:
From Mary's "ravings" by letter Nancy had expected to find the family that Mary was visiting one of the old aristocratic families of New York, not prominent in the gayer affairs, perhaps, but of a truer culture. Nancy's ideals of culture were built on Uncle John's ideas and those of the Allen family in general.

But instead of people like the Curtis family they found a noisy, pretentious group, friendly enough, indeed, but it all took Nancy's breath in surprise. The large apartment, to which Charles escorted them from the hotel, was decorated in the newest and most brilliant array of forms and colors in the "new art," admiringly explained to Nancy by Mary. It was "very effective," Nancy said, in wise evasion. The eldest daughter, whom Mary had met at school, was "devoted to art," her mother said, and Nancy played the part of the responsive and unsophisticated girl from the "Middle West" to perfection, though it was really only her natural desire to be responsive, while inwardly disliking the whole display and wondering at Charles and Mary. They had known people like this in the Middle West. Why be impressed and think it New York?
The room is "full of a blue smoke, the effect of too many cigarettes." Nancy declines a cigarette that is offered to her. Later, one of the young people at the party gets drunk. The Allens, of course, do not touch the cigarettes or the wine. They are shown to be very upright young people and are relieved to get away from the party.

I also greatly enjoyed this story. This book seems to have fewer errors than the first two books, although many of the same errors are still present. Grove continues to use quotation marks excessively, as can be seen above in the portion I quoted. While it is true that the quotation marks are often used for brief quotes made by others, I find it very annoying. It was not necessary to include brief quotes all through the entire book.

I could not help but think of Beverly Gray as I read this book due to the cruise connection. Could Clair Blank have read these books prior to writing her books? I also noticed that Nancy has multiple suitors. She receives a marriage proposal in this book and turns it down much for the same reasons that Beverly Gray turns down Jim's marriage proposal. Hmm.


beautifulshell said...

How long did it take you to collect these? Did you find all of them with dustjackets? I'm always curious about the scarcity of minor series...

Jennifer White said...

I built the set within a few months, but that was because I bought one book from one person and a second person offered the rest of the set soon after. If not for that coincidence, it might have taken quite a few months to build the set.

Right now, I can only find two of the five titles up for sale on the internet, so that says a lot about how scarce the books are. One book is on the Advanced Book Exchange, and I have the other one in my Bonanza booth.

I only have two of the five books in dust jacket. The books are scarce, and the jackets are even more scarce.

Stephen Hutcheson said...

I happened across a couple of series books in used bookstores, as possible candidates for Project Gutenberg e-texts. Your website was such a valuable resource that I've used it as a guide to find other candidates.

You might be interested in the "Ruth Fielding" and "Betty Gordon" volumes that are already up on Project Gutenberg. "Penny Nichols" and "Penny Parker" volumes are in preparation at Distributed Proofreaders, with some others tentatively planned.

Jenn Fisher said...

Are the Penny Parkers and Penny Nichols books in the public domain? I had thought Mildred Benson retained some of her copyrights--especially to the Penny Parkers?


Stephen Hutcheson said...

It is true that Mildred Wirt retained some of the copyrights--including all these. (In that era, copyrights could ONLY be renewed by the original author--except for works-for-hire, such as the Nancy Drew and Kay Tracey books.)

It is also true that she renewed copyright on SOME of her books--the caravan adventures, for instance.

However, I've confirmed (and the Project Gutenberg copyright reviewer concurs) that none of the original Penny Parker or Penny Nichols books were renewed.

I can provide the gory details, if you're interested.

beautifulshell said...

Yay for Project Gutenberg!