Thursday, October 17, 2013

Nancy Drew #85 Shady Glen, #86 Misty Canyon, and #87 Rising Stars

In Nancy Drew #85, The Secret of Shady Glen, Nancy helps Joanna Williams search for a hidden treasure in gold that was bequeathed to her. Joanna has half of a map that shows underground passages leading from her house to other locations, including a cemetery.  As Nancy works on the case, three teenagers harass her whenever they see her near the Shady Glen cemetery, which they call their turf.

This mystery is a throwback to earlier mysteries, with many of those characteristics.  The girls investigate a locked building in the woods as well as underground secret passageways.  At the end of the story, Nancy, Bess, and George each receive a valuable keepsake from Joanna.

The Secret of Shady Glen is an excellent story.

In Nancy Drew #86, The Mystery of Misty Canyon, Nancy, Bess, and George vacation at Calloway Dude Ranch in Montana.  The ranch is run by Tammy Calloway, who took over after her father died.  Tammy has a large bank loan and is in danger of losing the ranch.  She depends upon the income generated by selling the offspring of Renegade, a black stallion who is impossible to ride.  Renegade's twin, Twister, will be ridden by Tammy in an upcoming rodeo which has a big prize.  Tammy hopes to win the rodeo in order to get herself out of debt.

Renegade disappears soon after Nancy's arrival on the ranch, and Twister begins acting strange.  Nancy suspects that someone is trying to sabotage the ranch.

This book marks the beginning of a sequence of books in which one or more people are hostile towards Nancy, resenting her investigation.  The people who are hostile are not necessarily villains but usually people who see a teenage sleuth as an obnoxious nuisance.

This story is similar to several past Nancy Drew books, most notably The Sky Phantom, since a valuable horse is missing.  The missing horse situation is handled much better than in The Sky Phantom, since the reader is given time to care about the horse before the horse disappears.

The Mystery of Misty Canyon is The Sky Phantom done ten times better.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

In Nancy Drew #87, The Case of the Rising Stars, Nancy, Bess, and George attend a mystery convention in Chicago.  Two stars that are scheduled to appear at the convention, Will Leonard and Sally Belmont, are abducted.  Nancy investigates when the hotel security chief refuses because he believes the abduction is a prank that is part of the convention.

The Danner and Bishop department store from The Joker's Revenge is mentioned in this book.  Also, Nancy meets an author who is friends with Monica Crown from The Case of the Disappearing Diamonds.

I was quite interested at the mention of a "compact computer" which would have to be an early version of a laptop.  This book was published in February 1989, and quite honestly, I have no memory of laptops going back that far.  I checked Google for information on the history of laptops and found that some early compact computers that were very heavy and did not look anything like laptops were created as far as as around 1980.  They did not last long.

The genesis of the modern laptop was in around 1988 and 1989, and the photos I found show very archaic looking laptops.  The mention of a "compact computer" in this book occurred right about the time they first came into existence.  Here are some links to pictures of a couple of them.

1989 NEC UltraLite
1990 Compaq SLT/286

On page 91, Nancy, Bess, and George are taken for a wild cab ride by the villain, who places a concrete block on the accelerator, then jumps out of the vehicle.  The cab accelerates to 90 mph, exits the freeway, and barrels down a main road.  Nancy gets the block removed and brakes the vehicle, throwing it into a skid where it ends up jumping the curb.  What I find odd is that after the girls exit the vehicle, Nancy remarks, "We'll call the police later and tell them about the cab."  She says that they need to focus on who tried to kill them.  The girls walk off, leaving the cab.

I am thinking about how dozens of people witnessed the end of the cab ride and didn't know what happened.  The girls didn't stick around to explain.  What if someone else had decided to call the police, telling them about the crazy teenage girls who stole a cab and went for a wild ride? 

I wanted to roll my eyes at many of the events that occur very early in the book, but as I continued reading, I really got into the story. This is a very enjoyable book.