Friday, August 30, 2013

Nancy Drew #67 Sinister Omen and #68 Elusive Heiress

In Nancy Drew #67, The Sinister Omen, Nancy and her five friends head down to Fort Lauderdale during spring break.  Nancy plans to assist her father in apprehending a gang of stamp thieves who counterfeit extremely valuable stamps.  Additionally, Mrs. Palmer has asked Nancy to learn who keeps breaking into her home without ever taking anything. 

In this book, Ned, Burt, and Dave's presence is not strange since the trip is made during spring break.  At the same time, the mention of spring break is a little odd, since Nancy, Bess, and George do not attend school and never have during the first 66 books in the series. 

On page 28*, River Heights is placed near the eastern coast somewhere north of New York City.

This book is similar to Captive Witness, which reads more like a Hardy Boys book.  Both books were written by Richard Ballad.  One scene early in the book is extremely strange for a Nancy Drew book.  Carson Drew has been imprisoned by gangsters inside an abandoned hotel in a very bad section of town.  Nancy goes by herself to rescue her father, in spite of the fact that her boyfriend is in Florida.  That part reads like a Hardy Boys book if Carson Drew had instead been Fenton Hardy with one or both of his sons, the Hardy Boys, rescuing him.  The Hardy Boys often come to the rescue of Fenton Hardy in their series.

Speaking of Fenton Hardy, he briefly makes an appearance in the first Wanderer printing of this title.  No, really.  On page 79, Carson's name is given as Fenton, and on page 84, he is called Mr. Hardy.  This is very strange.  It appears that this book may have originally been written as a Hardy Boys book and was later rewritten as a Nancy Drew book.  Otherwise, there is no logical reason why Carson's Drew name would instead be Fenton Hardy.  The mistakes with the name were corrected in later printings.

On page 140, the yacht has a Chinese cook.  I am quite used to old series books having Chinese cooks, but those books are from the 1930s and 1940s.  This book was published in 1982, so the Chinese cook strikes me as a bit unusual. 

Mrs. Palmer is lots of fun.  She is a cranky elderly woman who is fully in control.

After Nancy and Ned discover the stamps, which they believe to be valuable, they take a cab.  Their stupidity is incredible.  Needless to say, the cab driver is part of the gang, so Nancy and Ned are in trouble.

The timing of the passage that spans from page 188 to page 190 is off.  On page 188, Nancy and Ned arrive back at the Segovia mansion, where Nancy gives the envelopes to Segovia.  That means that Segovia was inside the mansion at the moment that Nancy and Ned return.  Next, Nancy and Ned get something to drink and go outside, where the others are watching the dock.  What seems like no more than around 30 minutes pass, then Nancy says that they need to tell Segovia what is happening.  Nancy is told that Segovia has been away from the mansion for two hours.  Wait.  I thought that Nancy and Ned gave the envelopes to Segovia a short time before.

This book caught my interest early due how the plot progresses in a straightforward fashion without throwing a million subplots at me.  I really enjoyed this book, but it began to lose me at around page 162 and for around the next 10 pages.  Fortunately, the book became interesting again.  Overall, this is a very enjoyable book.

And now we must have a moment of silence for the memory of good old Burt and Dave.  The Sinister Omen is the final Nancy Drew book with Nancy and her core group of five friends.  She will have many more adventures with Bess, George, and Ned, but Burt and Dave are extra baggage and must ride off into the sunset.  More likely, Burt and Dave need to attend some remedial courses to make up for all of the class time they missed while traveling with Nancy all over the world.

Burt and Dave each get mentioned briefly in a couple of future Nancy Drew books, but this book contains their last words.  On page 200, Burt asks his final question, "Where are the police?" and on page 204, Dave makes his final remark, "Even after he goes to jail, I won't be able to stand him."  No, Dave isn't talking about Burt, although it would be amusing.

In Nancy Drew #68, The Elusive Heiress, Nancy has been asked to track down what happened to Clarinda Winthrop.  Clarinda's father disowned her 40 years ago, but now, he wants to know what happened to her because he might not live much longer.  Nancy and Ned take a plane to Cheyenne, Wyoming.  A young girl named Jennifer gets off the plane with Nancy and Ned, but her mother fails to meet her.  Suddenly, Nancy has two missing people to find:  Clarinda Winthrop and Jennifer's mother.  Not surprisingly, the two mysteries are connected.

Ned is the only friend who makes an appearance in this book.  This is the beginning of a more logical setup in the Nancy Drew series where not all of Nancy's friends appear in every single book.

Nancy sets a building on fire in order to distract a criminal.  Somehow, I doubt that Harriet Adams would approve.

The Elusive Heiress was written by Sharon Wagner, who also wrote The Kachina Doll Mystery.  Both books are quite excellent.  This book is engaging from the very beginning and throughout the entire book.  My only quibble is that I found the description of the rodeo and related events to be too long and tiresome, causing me to skim over some of those pages.

*All page numbers refer to the Wanderer edition.

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