Monday, January 16, 2012

Nancy Drew: The Secret of Red Gate Farm

The revised text of the Nancy Drew book, The Secret of Red Gate Farm, held my attention from start to end, and I finished the book very quickly. In the original text, I enjoyed the scene at the very beginning in which Bess purchases the perfume. This scene is omitted from the revised text. Aside from that one scene, the original text does not have any major scenes that are omitted in the revised text.

I did not take notes, but it appears that very little of the original text was actually rewritten. Rather, much of Nancy's thoughts about what was happening were removed, and Nancy's communication with Chief McGinnis was utilized in the revised text in order to speed up events.

I found one detail from the revision to be a bit puzzling. In both versions, Nancy and her friends stop at a gas station where Nancy purchases gasoline and the girls eat ice cream. In the original text, Nancy pays with a $20 bill. Some men also purchase gasoline and pay with a $20 bill. Later, Nancy returns to the gas station and is accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill. It is apparent to the reader that the men who stopped at the same time are the actual culprits, since Nancy is not a counterfeiter.

In the revised text, the man pays for his gasoline with a $10 bill, and Nancy pays for the ice cream with a $20 bill. Later, Nancy is accused of passing a counterfeit $20 bill. This time, the men cannot be responsible because they paid with a different denomination. Nancy's bill must have been counterfeit, and she received it from her father.

Both texts make clear that the men who stop for gasoline are part of the Hale Syndicate. The original text has them pass a counterfeit bill. Exactly why did the revised text change that part to where the men did not pass a counterfeit bill? Why make Nancy responsible? In the original text, the accusation against Nancy is just as startling as in the revised text.

I consider it a draw as to whether the original or revised text is better. I thoroughly enjoyed the revised text, and I enjoyed the original text just as much.


Idylatoo said...

This has always been one of my favorites. I think the quality of the original really shines when the revised editions are essentially condensed versions.

I think the reason this one is so particularly good is that while it has the "spook" factor, much like Shadow Ranch and Lilac Inn, the truth of who's behind it is truly scary. There were so many victims of the bad guys in this one rather than the usual one person or family Nancy had the extraordinary fortune to bump into.

William Land said...

I agree that both versions of this book are very good and I liked them. I didn't notice that the criminals paid for their gas with a $10 bill in the revised book, which Nancy paid her charges with $20. At this point, the criminals could not have passed this bill. Did they return to the gas station later (before the owners made a bank deposit) to pay charges with $20? Not likely. Also, the waitress declares that Nancy's bill was the only $20 bill they took in that day (page 111).

This is obviously a plot hole in the revised text. :-)

William Land said...

I must amend my last comment - after I thought about what I wrote, I realized that the criminals would not have returned to the gas station to pass the bill. Nancy definitely paid with the counterfeit money that she received from her father.

This is not a plot hole as I had originally thought. It makes sense that Nancy was the only one that paid with $20 and is therefore accused of passing bad money. The criminals are innocent in this case.

However, I'm puzzled about why the criminals would pay with real money at the gas station? They would not have any knowledge of Nancy possessing a counterfeit bill and using it at the gas station? Why would anyone make counterfeit money and not use it in places where they are unknown?