Saturday, January 28, 2012

Nancy Drew: Two Strange Broken Lockets

Revised text of Broken Locket
I really enjoyed reading the revised text of Nancy Drew #11, The Clue of the Broken Locket. I always enjoyed this text as a child. Nevertheless, the text has many weak spots. Following are some of the events that seem off.

As I read the revised text, I noted that the behavior of the girls was different from how I would have responded. Cecily meets the girls and invites them to spend the night. She doesn't know them!

At one point, Cecily's cat is taken to Mrs. Hosking's boarding house when the young people leave for a few days. It is assumed that Mrs. Hosking is willing to look after the cat. This seems a bit presumptuous.

Cecily's cat is very strange. The cat runs off, but the girls are able to get the cat to come to them. Would your cat come? My cats probably would not, or if they decided to come, I would be kept waiting for several hours.

Later, the cat ignores a bird call. What kind of cat ignores a bird call? Also, the cat settles down readily on the bed that the girls make for it. Cats sometimes go along with a bed selected by people, but not always. Last, why is the cat comfortable in a strange place with three strange girls? My cats would be terrified.

The behavior of the people is also odd. The cat finds a mouse and goes into the other room, presumably to eat it. Yuck. I'm sorry, but I'm not going to let a cat be in the cabin with me eviscerating a mouse. Often, cats leave parts behind. The girls seem so unconcerned that this is occurring near them!

The villains rely on a tried-and-true method of keeping people away from the scene of their criminal activity: project the image of a ghost launch onto the mist so that everyone will see it and be afraid to come near. Really? It seems to me that the thrill-seekers would flock to the lake to see the ghost launch. The best way to avoid detection while committing a crime is to act like you are doing nothing wrong. Avoid drawing attention to yourself.

Original text of Broken Locket
I have always disliked the original text, and I expected to dislike it again upon this reading. I cannot stand the beginning of the story, in which everyone knows that the Blairs are frivolous people who are unsuited to adopt the babies. Yet, the Blairs are allowed to sign the adoption papers. I want to tear my hair out.

That aside, the original text reads a lot like a Kay Tracey book, which is the problem. I would like the original text fine if it were a Kay Tracey or even a Dana Girls book, but as a Nancy Drew book, the story is too strange. Rodney and Ruth have no apparent connection aside from being concerned about the babies, and Nancy makes a wild assumption that they are separated twins. Even crazier, Nancy is right!

In one scene, Rodney falls on the locket which has been tossed into the fire. The image of a heart is burned onto his forehead, which is bizarre. Everyone gets scared that something bad will happen because of the image on Rodney's forehead. Most all of the characters in the original text act like idiots.

Danish edition of the original text
Nancy has a car accident in the original text because she is so intent on following Ruth that she pays no attention as the road she is on intersects with a highway. This event astounds me because so many of the original text books herald Nancy's great ability in avoiding traffic accidents, skills that she is lacking in this book.

Colleen plots to have Nancy accused of theft. Colleen's name could easily have been changed to Lettie Briggs or Ethel Eaton, and Colleen would have been either the Danas' or Kay Tracey's sworn enemy. Having a vicious enemy like Colleen also makes the original text read much like a Dana Girls or Kay Tracey book.

In conclusion, I dislike the original text as a Nancy Drew book, but I would like it just fine as either a Dana Girls or Kay Tracey book. I enjoy the Kay Tracey books because of the absurdity. I'm not sure why this particular story was written as a Nancy Drew book. I expect more of Nancy Drew.

The original text is written better than the revised text, but the stories are completely different. The revised text has some problems, but the original text story is absurd. The revised text is a story that I enjoyed when I read Nancy Drew as a child. My vote is in favor of the revised text.


Kelly Robinson said...

I love your comparisons of alternate texts, even when I haven't read the titles in question. Always interesting!

William Land said...

I have to agree with Jennifer on this one - the revised text is a better mystery. I, too, enjoy it much better than the original text for a mystery.

"Broken Locket," both versions, are Nancy Drew books that I neither particularly like or dislike.

One can help feel sorry for the babies in both books. In the original text, the adoptive parents, the Blairs, and the nursemaid, Colleen, are neglectful of the children. In the revised story, the adoptive parents, the Discrolls, are abusive. They are training three-year-old tots to be circus performers when they are clearly frightened. Obviously "Carolyn Keene," when penning both books, had never heard of child protective services!

Thomas Outman said...

I read the RT first here, too. I thought I would love the Civil War mystery, but I found it really boring. Years later I picked up the OT. I thought it read like Bronte or Dickens. U know when the Blairs get the babies that they won't be able to keep them.....Nancy will see to that, and then when Ruth and Rodney come into the picture, everything starts to fall into place. The story was definitely old fashioned, but I still loved it.