Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nancy Drew #2 Hidden Staircase and #3 Bungalow Mystery

I have finished reading both the original and revised texts for the second and third Nancy Drew books, The Hidden Staircase and The Bungalow Mystery.

The original texts of both books refer back to the events of The Secret of the Old Clock, which makes for strong continuity. That continuity was lost when both books were revised, since all of those references were removed. Offhand, I do not believe that the events of Old Clock were mentioned in any great detail in the original text books past Bungalow Mystery, and this makes me wonder how the series would have progressed if Edward Stratemeyer had lived past the publication of the first three books. We can be certain that the books would not have been the same, since daughters Harriet and Edna would not have been running the Syndicate if Edward had remained alive.

In the original text Hidden Staircase, Nancy spends a good bit of time in the early chapters of the books visiting with the Horner girls and Abigail Rowen about how they are doing after receiving Josiah Crowley's inheritance. It is during Nancy's visit to Abigail that she meets the Turnbulls and learns of the mystery at their mansion. In the revised text, the Turnbulls are related to Helen Corning, and Helen asks Nancy to solve the mystery.

In the original text Bungalow Mystery, Nancy and Helen are caught in the storm on Moon Lake, which is the same lake that figured so prominently in the events of Old Clock. The location was changed in the revised text.

My perspective on both of these stories has changed since I read them ten years ago. The last time I read these books, I had not yet begun collecting and reading the early Stratemeyer series such as the Outdoor Girls, the Blythe Girls, Girls of Central High, and others. I recall that I considered some aspects of the original texts to be better but that I still preferred other aspects of the revised texts, which were the ones that I read as a child. I believe that I considered the original texts to be better, but I can't remember my specific thoughts clearly.

Upon this reading, I quite distinctly find the original texts to be better, and I believe the fact that I have read so many of the early series is what has caused me to react so strongly in favor of these two original texts.

I recall that I strongly disliked the original texts of Lilac Inn and Shadow Ranch, so I am interested to see how I react to those two. Will I still strongly dislike them, or will I respond much more favorably?


Anonymous said...

I grew up reading a mix of original and revised text, and filled in the others over the years. If you asked me to name my favorites I probably wouldn't mention OT Bungalow Mystery, but when I actually think about it, it's a very exciting book. OT Lilac Inn and Shadow Ranch really didn't do anything for me, though. The pace is too slow and revisions are so iconic to me that the originals pale in comparison.

Unknown said...

I, too, read a mixture of original and revised texts books in childhood (the original books were primarily from the 1940s-195s so they are not significantly different than the revised books).

Generally, I prefer the original text over the revised book with two exceptions: The Mystery at Lilac Inn and The Secret at Shadow Ranch. The revised books are fast-paced and the mysteries are interesting.

I was very disappointed to learn that Nancy's evil imposter, Gay Moreau, did not appear in the original text. I read this book as an adult and found it boring to read about Nancy's domestic problems.