Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nancy Drew #14 The Whispering Statue

Near the beginning of the revised text of the Nancy Drew book, The Whispering Statue, Mrs. Merriam has arrived at the Drew home to tell of her suspicions about Mr. Basswood. The front and back doorbells ring at the same time that the phone rings. Nancy answers the phone, and a caller warns her that Mrs. Merriam needs to shut up. Nancy's friends open both doors, and masked assailants force their way into the home.

These assailants have just proved that Mrs. Merriam's concerns are true, which makes them stupid criminals. Mr. Drew remarks, "I don't understand what those men hoped to accomplish." Yeah, bunch of idiots. The scene is stupid enough that I actually enjoyed it.

The masks were pulled off of both men. When the police arrive and see the two identical masks, one of them remarks, "Those thugs were working together all right." Even if the masks had been completely different, I think we could conclude that two men forcing their way in at the front and back doors simultaneously would most likely be working together. These cops are smart.

The villains know that Nancy has two friends, since they saw them in River Heights. These two friends suddenly show up in Waterford with a girl named Debbie Lynbrook. The three girls do not hide that their hometown is River Heights. The criminals are dumb not to realize that Debbie Lynbrook is Nancy Drew in disguise.

At Mr. Basswood's shop, a customer described as a "stout woman" enters the store. Nancy helps her choose a book, and later, she speaks to Mr. Basswood about the sale. Mr. Basswood remarks, "I've been thinking about what the stout lady said..." I find it hilarious that Mr. Basswood uses "stout" to describe the woman just like the text of the book does.

An earth tremor occurs while Nancy is in the book shop. Just moments later, Nancy turns on a radio in time to hear a special announcement about the cause of the tremor. Breaking news updates sure were fast 42 years ago!

Later, the girls investigate Mr. Basswoood's shop after hours. While in the storage room, a man arrives, and the girls must hide. They pose behind empty portrait frames. Exactly who would be foolish enough to fall for a trick like that? More importantly, who would be foolish enough to attempt to escape detection that way? Of course the trick doesn't work.

Ned comes into Mr. Basswood's store, and Nancy and Ned act like they don't know each other so as not to jeopardize Nancy's sleuthing. All good, except a short time later, Nancy and Ned make no attempt to hide that they know each other while at the yacht club. I doubt that Waterford is so huge that they could get away with that.

While I was amused about some of the weak parts of the story, I really enjoyed the revised text. The idea of Nancy sleuthing in disguise is fun.

The original text features quite a few seemingly unconnected people who, in the end, are all connected in some fashion or another. This is a story of random coincidences.

The story is well written but features several different subplots. I wrote in a previous post that I would not be writing summaries in these reviews, but in this case, I need to give a short summary so that I can make my point.

Nancy acquires her dog, Togo, who runs off with Mrs. Owen's important papers. Nancy helps recover the papers, and Mrs. Owen remarks that Nancy closely resembles a Whispering Girl statue that is on an estate in Sea Cliff.

Sea Cliff just happens to be the locale in which Nancy is about to go on vacation. The Whispering Girl statue is on the old Conger estate, which has fallen into disrepair ever since Mr. Conger died. The daughter, Bernice Conger, has never returned home to claim the property.

Mr. Drew has a client named Mr. Owen who was defrauded by a man named Wormrath (I wonder if Wormrath ever went to Hogwarts?). Nancy thinks that there could be a connection between Mr. Owen and Mrs. Owen. The reader can guess that a connection absolutely must exist, because, of course, whenever anybody has the same surname, they have to be related!

I am reminded of when I have people ask me if I know ______ White, which happens quite often. This may come as a shock, but my name is rather common. It is no more logical that I know all Whites than it is that I know all Jennifers. Think about it.

A woman named Miss Morse travels on the same train to Sea Cliff. A man named Joe Mitza tries to defraud her.

A man tries to steal the Whispering Girl statue, and he has a monkey named Jocko.

How does all of this work out? Mr. Owen and Mrs. Owen each thought the other was dead, and Nancy's hunch that they might just be related helps reunite them. However, Mr. Owen nearly dies from the shock.

Miss Morse turns out to be Bernice Conger, and Joe Mitza is her son. Mitza was unaware of the connection, since he had not seen his mother in many years. Miss Morse/Bernice Conger is married to Wormrath. Mrs. Owen knew Bernice Conger when they were young.

The story is written well, but the events are too random for my taste. This is another book that seems more like a Kay Tracey book. The Kay Tracey books tend to have random, bizarre events. Nancy Drew books are usually plotted a bit better.

While the original text is overall a better story than the revised text, I like the revised text just a little better. The undercover sleuthing in the revised text gets my vote.

1 comment:

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