Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Nancy Drew #20 Clue in the Jewel Box

In Nancy Drew #20, The Clue in the Jewel Box, Nancy tries to catch the man responsible for a series of robberies. She also becomes friends with Mrs. Alexandra, who was once queen in her native land. Mrs. Alexandra hopes to locate her missing grandson, who was lost when the royal family escaped the revolution.

I did not enjoy this book as much as I did years ago. I found the entire subplot involving David Dorrance and his double to be rather annoying. The handkerchief signal that Nancy and Dorrance arrange seems stupid, and it is rather apparent that both Dorrance and his double are in league. Nancy is clueless about the men until near the end of the story.

On page 66 of the original text, Nancy hears a woman cry out for help after her pocketbook is stolen. The woman indicates that the man running down the street is the culprit. Nancy follows him into a department store. The text states that Nancy is able to keep him in sight the entire time. The man then turns and waves his handkerchief at Nancy.

Think for a minute, Nancy. The man was running away right after a robbery. Why was he running? He was likely guilty, but then he waved the handkerchief. Nancy should have already been suspicious of David Dorrance at this point, since the man Nancy followed knew Dorrance's signal. But no, Nancy is dismayed that she has mistaken the pickpocket for Dorrance yet again. She should be asking herself why Dorrance is always present when a theft occurs.

The original text introduces Burt and Dave on page 106. This is the first appearance of Burt and Dave in the series. While Burt and Dave make appearances in a number of the revised text versions of earlier titles, those stories were written after this original text was published.

The revisions often remove information that should not have been removed. For instance, Michael behaves oddly when the young people meet Mr. Ellington while in the presence of Michael. The original text makes it clear that Michael is trying to avoid Mr. Ellington, as though he is afraid of being recognized. Michael's odd behavior is missing from the revised text. It would have been far better to have left Michael's odd behavior in the revised text.

I found it difficult to write this review, because I did not enjoy this reading of either text. I know that I liked the story when I read it years ago, but this time my experience did not match my memories.

The original text is better than the revised text, since it tells a more complete and better detailed story.


Judy said...

I just reread this story, and I was also piqued by Nancy's stupidity over David Dorrance. I loved these stories as a child but now Nancy seems very foolish to me, always putting herself in dangerous situations instead of going to the police as a sensible person would do. And her modesty borders on offensive since she refuses to accept any compliments or praise. Still, it's fun reading these books since they remind me of my childhood and also evoke history for me.

Kansas Mad Man said...

This story wasn't very exciting to me, either. I think the fashion show and the reappearance of Helen as a plot mechanism, in the original, annoyed me. It is easy to see that these people might be relatives of the Romanovs. . . but the issue over enough fabric, etc. for the dress and the lack of car usage make this book clearly dated during the war. . .