Monday, September 30, 2013

Nancy Drew #79 Fenley, #80 Diamonds, and #81 Mardi Gras

In Nancy Drew #79, The Double Horror of Fenley Place,a Hollywood director is filming a horror movie in River Heights.  Bess is cast as a "screamer" in the film.  Nancy tags along with Bess and stumbles into a mystery.  Every single scene that is filmed for the movie then occurs right across the street at Fenley Place.  The situation turns grim when Nancy learns that a dog is to be found dead in a movie scene, and later, the movie will depict a house burning.  Nancy must discover the culprit before Fenley Place is destroyed.  Certainly, someone associated with the film is causing the pranks.  But who?  And why?

This is an engaging story, although I feel that the plot lags towards the middle of the book.  For a number of chapters, the plot does not advance, and then finally, the book becomes quite suspenseful towards the end.  Overall, this is a good mystery.

In Nancy Drew #80, The Case of the Disappearing Diamonds, Monica Crown hires Carson Drew to help her discover who framed her daughter in the theft of one million dollars in diamonds.  One of the diamonds was found in the possession of Karen Crown, so she was convicted and sent to prison.  Monica fears that Karen will not survive in prison.

Soon after Nancy begins her investigation, Monica Crown's car plunges over a cliff.  The police are unable to find a body and believe Monica to be dead.  However, Nancy suspects that Monica might have faked her own death. 

This book is very suspenseful and entertaining.  The villain follows Nancy in a white sedan, threatens her, and tries to kill her.

In Nancy Drew #81, The Mardi Gras Mystery, Ned, Nancy, Bess, and George go to New Orleans at the invitation of one of Ned's teammates.  A valuable painting, Danielle's Dream, is stolen from Mr. Tyler's home.  Ned's friend's father is suspected of stealing it.  Later, Nancy thinks she sees Danielle in New Orleans.  Could Danielle be alive?  Or is this all part of a hoax?

I kept thinking of a Beverly Gray book, Beverly Gray's Discovery, as I read this one.  In Beverly Gray's Discovery, Beverly discovers that someone has been copying famous paintings.  This book even has Nancy looking through a window at someone copying a painting, just like Beverly Gray did.

The Mardi Gras Mystery is engaging from the very beginning and engaging throughout the book.

All three of these books are interesting and exciting, and they all follow a specific formula.  The little things that annoyed me about many of the Wanderer books have vanished.  Nancy no longer "swallows sighs," and gone are all the cute little references to past mysteries that make the Wanderer books seem like parodies.  While formula-driven books can be very predictable, when done right, they are consistently entertaining to read.  These books are formula-driven books done right.

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