Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Nancy Drew Girl Detective #11 Riverboat Ruse and #12 Stop the Clock

In Nancy Drew Girl Detective #11, Riverboat Ruse, Nancy, Bess, George, and Ned attend a mystery dinner on a riverboat.  During the dinner, Mrs. Mahoney's valuable heirloom necklace is stolen!  Ned helps search for the necklace, and in a twist, he becomes the primary suspect.  Nancy must prove his innocence.

This book makes reference to Nancy Drew's 75th anniversary by mentioning the 75th Midsummer Muskoka River Festival on page 1.

Soon after I began reading, I noticed certain references that appear to point back to the original 56 Nancy Drew books.  The riverboat is named the Magnolia Belle, and a sunken ship is the Lucinda Lu.  Put the names together and change them up slightly, and you get the Lucy Belle, a sunken ship from The Phantom of Pine Hill.

A bit later, I began to notice words like "tapping" and "jinxed," so I started looking for words that match parts of titles from the Grosset and Dunlap books.  It began to be a game.  I have to believe that at least some of these words were placed in this book on purpose, although others are likely just coincidence.  All of these words appear at least once in this book, and some of them appear over and over again all through the book.


Curiously, some of these words are used with each other or appear pretty close together, like the author was on a roll, seeing how many could get placed in the text.  And it all comes out naturally.  "Missing locket" is one example.  In particular, I noticed that "show" and "boat" are used repeatedly throughout the book.  The two words aren't next to each other, but they are all through the book.  Whenever I see the title of this book, Riverboat Ruse, I think of The Haunted Showboat.  Using those two words had to have been purposeful.

Riverboat Ruse is a wonderful, intriguing book.

In Nancy Drew #12, Stop the Clock, the Mahoney Library's clock is stolen just as the library is preparing for its 75 anniversary celebration.  The librarian, Mrs. Corning, is desperate to find the clock, because she believes that Helen is only planning to come home to see the clock.  Meanwhile, Nancy is on the committee that is planning the event, and someone is trying to make Nancy look bad!

The working title of this book was something like "The Secret of the Library Clock."  I wish they hadn't changed it.

Nancy Drew's 75th anniversary is referenced by the 75th anniversary of the Mahoney Library.

We learn on page 14 that awhile back, Helen Corning wanted to a be a movie star, so Nancy suggested that she move to California.  So she did.  The original series had Helen get married, so I thought that this was a fun alternative way to get rid of Helen.

It's kind of refreshing to see Ned studying for his college classes and telling Nancy that he can't leave at that moment.  Nancy suggests that she help him study later, so Ned agrees to go with her.  Nancy does follow through with her promise later.  I enjoyed this nice bit of realism.

This book takes several characters from The Secret of the Old Clock and gives them new names.  Carrie and Merrie Smalley are quite obviously the Topham sisters in this alternate reality Nancy Drew series.  On page 82, Merrie breaks a vase in a department store and blames the clerk.  Nancy comes to the rescue, making the Smalley sisters very angry.  Sound familiar?

The Smalley sisters hate Nancy because she found a later will that stripped them of their inheritance.  Nancy also interacts with Janice and Lizzie Romer, who are obviously the Horner sisters. 

The Girl Detective series is like Nancy Drew in a parallel universe, and if read in that fashion, everything makes sense, including the changed names.  This is the way Nancy Drew might have been, if she had been more like Trixie Belden and set in modern times.  This is the only way to read these stories.  The fans who have gotten upset over these books were likely reading them as an extension or continuation to the original Nancy Drew series.  This series is not connected to those books at all.  For this Nancy Drew, everything recorded in Nancy Drew #1 through #175 has never happened.   

After I read each Girl Detective book, I go back to the old reviews in the Nancy Drew Sleuths group from back when the books were first released.  I want to see how fans reacted as they read each book.  I really enjoyed this one, but it upset some people greatly.  One of the main reasons was the change in names for the characters that came from The Secret of the Old Clock.  Again, the key is to see this series as an alternative reality to the Nancy Drew we know.  Even better, you could read the stories as parodies, even though they weren't intended in that fashion.

As I read these books, I make a few notes so that I can flesh them out later when take the time to write the review.  I make a very brief statement as to how much I enjoyed the book.  The moment I finished this book, I wrote, "Fun, fun book.  It was very good!"  That, to me, says it all.  I loved this story and had a lot of fun reading it!

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