Monday, March 18, 2013

Nancy Drew #38 The Mystery of the Fire Dragon

In Nancy Drew #38, The Mystery of the Fire Dragon, Aunt Eloise asks Nancy to come to New York City to find out what has happened to a missing Chinese girl, Chi Che Soong.  Meanwhile, Mr. Drew has asked Nancy to go with him to Hong Kong to help him solve a mystery.  Ned Nickerson just so happens to be attending a university in Hong Kong as an exchange student, which is mighty convenient.

Much is odd about this story.  From page 2, Aunt Eloise's "large old-fashioned apartment had been converted into two separate apartments.  Each had its own entrance from the hallway."  When I have read this book in the past, I never thought much about this, but now I think it is strange.  Why was Aunt Eloise's apartment converted?  Did she not need the room?  Did she want to rent out the extra part?  And why is there a connecting door between the two apartments?  Nancy and her friends enter the Soongs' apartment several times through the door without being invited.  This is strange.

Mr. Soong's name is recycled from The Clue of the Leaning Chimney.  Reusing names from other books can cause confusion among readers.  Could they not think up a Chinese name different from Soong?  How about Wong, Chang, Yang, Wu, or Sun? 

On pages 56, Aunt Eloise comes home with bolts for the hall doors of both apartments and says that she is going to bolt both apartments.  The following passage is from page 57.
Suddenly Nancy laughed.  "We can barricade the Soongs' apartment," she said, "but we'd have to use a little magic to bolt ours after we've left it!"

Aunt Eloise blinked and laughed.  "Why, of course,"  she said.  "I was certainly letting my imagination run way with me."

Nancy added that it would be a good idea to barricade the Soongs' apartment, nevertheless.
I think it still would have been a good idea to have done the same to Aunt Eloise's apartment.  After all, the bolts would keep out intruders while the occupants are sleeping.

Bess is abducted and left on a road, blindfolded, on page 82.  An elderly couple stops to help her.  They assume that Bess is a victim of a hazing, and Bess does not correct them.  This is a plot idea borrowed from The Quest of the Missing Map.  In that book, Nancy is kidnapped and picked up by a couple in a car.  They make a similar assumption about what happened.

Part of the plot has to do with Stromberg's book store, which reminds me of the book store plot of The Whispering Statue.  While Nancy does not get a job in the book store, another girl does in order to help Nancy out.

On page 104, a flower pot is dropped from a third floor window onto Nancy's head.  She is knocked out, but okay.  A heavy object dropping from the third floor would have hit Nancy's head rather hard.  In real life, I think the impact would have easily killed her.

On page 113, Grandpa Soong asks Bess and George if they believe in thought transference.  Both girls say that they do.  With Bess, this is not surprising, but I am amazed that George also agrees.

I thought it was odd that Stromberg leaves his store unattended and unlocked, allowing customers to browse in his absence.  He supposedly has rare books that I assume are valuable, and he trusts that no one will steal them?

And of course, George looks just like Chi Che once some make-up is applied.  To the left, you can see George as Chi Che on the cover of the Danish edition.  Somehow, a Caucasian girl can easily pass as a Chinese girl with some make-up and a change to her hair style.  How convenient!

This mystery is okay, but so much of it is absurd.  I did not list everything that is strange about this book.  I consider it to be below average as compared to the other Nancy Drew books from #35 and up.


Ryan said...

I always really liked the cover for this one. A lot of the story is rather farfetched, but personally I still enjoy it.

Bob said...

It is a children's book not an adult book.It is for children to have fun reading it. Not for an adult to criticize.