Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Nancy Drew #35 The Haunted Showboat

Nancy Drew #35, The Haunted Showboat, is the first Nancy Drew book that was originally published in 20 chapters.  Sometimes people new to collecting Nancy Drew books mistakenly search for a version with 25 chapters, but all copies have the original 20 chapter text.

One of the common myths about the revision of the first 34 Nancy Drew books is that the revisions were done primarily to remove racial stereotypes.  While the stereotypes were removed in the process, they were never the reason for the revisions.  The texts were revised because the bindery was switching to a different method of printing the books.  Also, shorter texts meant fewer pages, thus reducing costs.  The Haunted Showboat has racial stereotypes and could have used at least a minor revision, but since it originally had 20 chapters, it was never revised.

In The Haunted Showboat, Nancy, Bess, and George drive to New Orleans to solve the mystery of the haunted showboat.  The Havers want to restore the showboat and move it from the bayou for a pageant.  Strange sounds are heard on the showboat, and intruders prowl around on the showboat at night.  Later in the story, Ned, Burt, and Dave are somehow miraculously able to leave Emerson to join the girls in New Orleans.

Danish Edition
This story is another one of the travelogue Nancy Drew books.  This book is full of facts and figures about New Orleans and the surrounding area.  The historical content is not annoying in this book, although on page 109 I consider it strange that Donna and Alex just happen to know the exact rate per hour and number of bushels of grain that can be loaded on a ship.

Also on pages 109-100, Donna Mae makes the following remarks.
"It used to be perfectly frightening when the old river overflowed and the levees broke," she said.  "When the Mississippi goes on a rampage now, some of the water is pumped into Lake Pontchartrain miles above here."
If only it were so in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck.

On page 34, the girls encounter a live electrical line laying across a road just over the crest of a hill.  With difficulty, they get turned around and take another road.  Since anyone else driving along that road would encounter the same problem, it seems strange that the girls do not find a phone to notify authorities of the dangerous situation.

On page 112, Nancy easily swims 500 yards to the shore of the Mississippi River.  Of course we know that Nancy is Super Girl, but still, this is not realistic.

Near the conclusion of the story, I am puzzled as to exactly why Alex needs to be on a float during the Mardi Gras parade.  He has the treasure, then he stuffs gold in his pockets, dumps the rest of the gold in a bag, and flees.  The boys tackle him.  Would it not have been better to have fled the area immediately after removing the treasure from the showboat?  Why go to the parade and then flee?

I enjoyed reading The Haunted Showboat.


M. LeRoy said...

Where can I find a copy of Susan Sand #8 for less than $30?

Jennifer White said...

It doesn't look like any are available at the moment. Check eBay.com and abe.com frequently. In fact, you can have both sites email you whenever books get listed. I do know that sometimes people will list the scarce Susan Sand books at low prices, and then you will be able to purchase the book inexpensively.