Monday, April 8, 2013

Nancy Drew #41 The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes

In Nancy Drew #41, The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes, Nancy learns of an heirloom her maternal great-grandmother, Lady Douglas, was planning to give her.  The heirloom has disappeared and was possibly stolen!

Bess has won a vacation for two people to her choice of destination by entering a photograph of Nancy sleuthing.  Nancy will be famous because the picture will appear in a popular magazine.  Nancy is dismayed that she will be likely recognized while in Scotland, but she suggests that Bess and George use the prize to journey to Scotland with her.

When Ned learns about the trip to Scotland, he tells her that he read a story about a group of thieves who are stealing sheep and lambs in the Highlands of Scotland.  He suggests that Nancy try to solve that mystery.

Of course the missing heirloom and the stolen sheep end up being connected.  At least the first half of the book consists of the bad guys attacking Nancy and chasing after her, trying to keep her from arriving at her destination in Scotland.  This is not a mystery; it is a game of cat and mouse.  Since the villains chase after Nancy constantly, attacking her, and giving her warnings, she knows who they are.  The villains quite directly give Nancy all of her clues.

I mentioned in my review of The Secret of the Golden Pavilion that a lot of information about Hawaii was given, and that it detracted from the story for me.  That is nothing compared to the amount of historic and geographic information about Scotland.  Some entire chapters are devoted to sightseeing rather than anything to do with a mystery.  Of course, the villains attack Nancy and her friends on every sightseeing trip, so I suppose we can consider each trip to be part of the mystery.  That is, we can consider each trip to be part of the elaborate game of cat and mouse.

On page 5, Ned tells Nancy that she needs to be back by June 10 so that she can be at Emerson for a special event.  The event occurs in The Phantom of Pine Hill, so this is a rare example of two Nancy Drew books fitting together chronologically.

On page 52, a houseboat tips over.  The illustration depicts the houseboat tipped over in the water.  It seems to me that water would have seeped into the houseboat, but nothing about this is mentioned in the text.  The way the text reads, I get the idea that the houseboat was never in the water in the first place, which is strange since it is a houseboat.

The coincidences are a bit too much in this mystery.  The girls rescue the people in the houseboat and learn of a nearby houseboat with strange occupants.  Of course those occupants are the villains in this non-mystery.

The villains make a painting that can only be viewed by taking a circular object, such as a glass, and making it into a circular mirror by painting the glass with a reflective coating.  I can't understand why the villains would use such a difficult method of communication.  Actually, they did it so that the readers could learn about an interesting method of viewing a painting.

The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes was not enjoyable to me, since it has very little mystery and consists of the villains chasing after Nancy and attacking her all the time.  The entire story seems pointless.


Ryan said...

I never noticed that little bit on continuity. It's actually a bit impressive that they did that.

This isn't the one where there's a carriage in the lake, is it? Books 40-60 blur together a bit.

Jennifer White said...

The carriage in the lake is #49 Mirror Bay. Some of these books blur together for me as well, especially #44 Crossword Cipher and #54 Strange Message in the Parchment. I also tend to confuse #38 Fire Dragon and #56 Thirteenth Pearl when thinking of the stories.

Unknown said...

Again, this, and 99 Steps were originally purchased together, so I enjoy the nostalgic feel. That, and we have some kinship to the Clan Douglas, in real life. That said. . . as a child, I loved ALL the car wrecks, the accidents, and the exciting playing of the Pipes. As a child, I lived vicariously through the travelogue stories. Now, they are tiresome at points. . . but I could visualize Scotland a great deal from reading the book. I prefer Hamish Macbeth, perhaps, because of this book. . .

Now, pushing George down Ben Nevis is HORRIBLE. There are too many coincidences. The BOMB is "Drew. Nancy Drew," type material, as is the fact that Nancy is suddenly the local Jackie Kennedy and the victim of paparazzi. I cannot imagine a town that small could support a daily scandal sheet (I picture River Heights as about 20 to 50 thousand occupants at MOST, ever). I liked the link to the magazine cover being the original logo on the tweed and orange books---looking at footprints. Some of the descriptions of the Tartans were a little sketchy; the registry must have been lacking accurate detail then. The car in the Loch incident is by far the funniest illustration and most unusual in any Nancy Drew book and a good ad for seat belts. But why Fiona stood up in the car while George jumped and Bess dove out of the car was preposterous. I rather like the cat and mouse, but this is more like a Golden Age Wonder Woman comic book. I note that after the next two volumes, the physical assault is to a lesser degree and more indirect. These are more violent than the Hardy Boys! But Nancy was liberated; men are just as aggressive to her as wives and female villains were between 1949 and 1962.