Thursday, January 10, 2013

Nancy Drew #28 Black Keys and #29 Ski Jump

Last year, I moved along quite steadily in my Nancy Drew reviews, but I halted during my reading of Nancy Drew #28, The Clue of the Black Keys.  By #28, the original and revised texts are almost identical, so I found it a bit difficult to read the same story twice.  I read the revised text and grew bored partway through the original text, which is where I stopped.  I did make a few notes back in the summer about a few things I noticed, so I will mention them here.

On page 54 of the revised text, Nancy tells Terry that she will be having dinner at the Faynes'.   She asks Terry to meet her there after dinner.
At eight o'clock he arrived.  After she had introduced him to George's parents, the Faynes went off to watch a television program in the recreation room.
Nancy then proceeds to have a lengthy conference with Terry in the Faynes' dining room.  Once the conference is over, Nancy apologizes to the Faynes and leaves with Terry.

Nancy invited someone over to the Faynes' home, and aside from George, nobody in the family knew him.  Nancy spent the entire evening with him away from the family but in their home and then left.  This seems a bit presumptuous.

The passage is slightly less strange in the original text, but only because George comes to check up on Nancy and Terry during the conference.

My only other observation about this book is that Dr. Pitt warns that finding the treasure is dangerous to mankind.  He is totally against finding the treasure, but for some reason, he willingly leads them to the treasure.  I would have expected Dr. Pitt to put up more of a fight since he was previously completely against finding the treasure.


I have been busy reading other books during recent months, and I have quite a few books that I am currently eager to read.  I forced myself to read The Mystery at the Ski Jump, because I do want to resume these reviews.  I struggled a bit, since I wanted to read other books.  So that I would not have to read the same book twice, I read a few chapters of the revised text, then a few chapters of the original text, and switched back and forth until I finished both texts.

In The Mystery at the Ski Jump, the revision is a bit choppy near the beginning of the story.  What is very strange is that one particular passage on page 2 was made slightly longer in the revised text, which makes the passage sound odd.

Page 2 from the original text:
"Just the same, I think we ought to call Dr. Britt," Mrs. Martin said nervously.  "Will you do it, Nancy?  The phone's in the hall.  I'll get a blanket to put over her."
Page 2 from the revised text:
"Just the same, I think we should call Dr. Britt," Mrs. Martin said nervously.  "Will you do it, Nancy?  The phone's in the hall.  I'll get a blanket upstairs to put over this woman."
Instead of getting "a blanket," the revised text changes the statement to "a blanket upstairs."  This seems unnecessary. 

In both texts, Nancy speeds and is stopped by a police officer.  For the original text, this is normal.  I am very surprised that Nancy breaking the law was kept in the revised text.  Normally, the revised text books show a perfect Nancy who never does anything wrong.

Nancy and her friends meet John Horn while chasing after the swindlers.  Later, Nancy helps her father with his case concerning Chuck Wilson.  Chuck's key witness, John Horn, is missing, and very conveniently, the missing John Horn is the same John Horn that Nancy recently met.  What are the chances?

I did not enjoy either The Clue of the Black Keys or The Mystery at the Ski Jump very much.  The reason why has more to do with me than with either story.  I am pleased to report that soon after beginning #30 The Clue of the Velvet Mask, I was once again enjoying reading Nancy Drew.  Look for that review sometime soon.


Kansas Mad Man said...

Nancy is very rude to George and her parents in the book, true, but it was absolutely incredible for me to believe that her car overturns and has just a few dents. . .the Bolian illustration says it all! Also, I found right about 28, there are substanially more active female criminals, who usually display physical aggression to Nancy. The hidden key on the ribbon and the torture bracelet in the original are questionable, but at least Bolian shows Mrs. Tito fall over the chair. I found Black Keys odd. . .and the quick plane trip in the ending was silly.

As for Ski Jump, leaving Nancy to freeze was evil. Her perfect skating routine is dumb, and after reading the story, back to back with Black Keys, I have to wonder if the author is trying to show Nancy has platonic relationships with men other than Ned and he is not her STEADY. Is this one of the first stories the spectacular sixsome (and Eloise or token chaperone) travel together?

I found Mitzi thoroughly unlikeable. As a child, though, I had no idea that in 1952, licenses did not have photos, which is why Mitzi was able to steal Nancy's. First appearance of the dye job (Mitzi's blue-black hair) in the 50's texts. I hope you read the original text of my favorite book, Velvet Mask. It breaks up some of the travel books.

R.G. said...

I've never enjoyed the travel books as much as the more centralized ones, and maybe that's why I don't particularly enjoy 28 and 29. Looking forward to the Velvet Mask!

Jennifer said...

I have never liked the travel books as much either. I especially do not care for the ones that contain large amounts of information about the place they are visiting. Just give me a good mystery and adventure!

The travel aspect of Black Keys is a likely reason I did not enjoy it as much.

I remembered another thought about Black Keys after this was published. It is a bit surprising that Nancy is able to quickly study for a test, pass, and obtain permission to go on the trip. Students who had been in the professor's class all along are worried about whether they will pass, and Nancy crams for the test at the last moment and passes. It is possible though, and not nearly as implausible as many of Nancy's other exploits, most particularly her trick riding in Ringmaster's Secret.

William Land said...

When I read Black Keys, I didn't necessarily think it was Nancy being deliberately rude to the Fayne family by inviting Terry Scott to their home. Nancy was just being Nancy and doing what any good detective would do - not let anything get in the way of sleuthing. The Faynes, who know Nancy very well, would understand this and realize it is important.

I liked Black Keys, but it isn't one of my favourite Nancys. I am a fan of Ski Jump, though. I like the glamorous fur coats, the elegant criminal, Mitzi Channing, who uses the name Nancy Drew, and the winter setting.

Nancy's friendship with Chuck Wilson is interesting, and he and Ned don't appear to be rivals. If Chuck appeared in a Files story, Ned would have certainly been in a twist.

Interestingly, Ned has a frat brother named Chuck Wilson in The Phantom of Pine Hill. He does not appear to be the same Chuck from Ski Jump. It is not unusual to encounter different people with the same name as one goes through life.

Laura said...

Yippee! The old v. new comparisons are back!