Sunday, May 18, 2014

Nancy Drew Girl Detective #13 Trade Wind Danger and #14 Bad Times, Big Crimes

In Nancy Drew Girl Detective #13, Trade Wind Danger, Nancy, Bess, and George travel to San Francisco for a vacation.  Soon after they arrive, a creepy older couple, Ed and Harriet, begin stalking them.  After Ed and Harriet's behavior scares the girls, they admit that they have a friend named Mildred, a writer, who has disappeared.  Ed and Harriet are mystery book publishers, and Mildred is one of their writers.  Ed and Harriet tell Nancy that Mildred went missing in Hawaii.  Ed and Harriet insist that the girls go to Hawaii to investigate and pay for their airfare to Hawaii.

Run, Nancy, run! 

That was my reaction as the initial events unfolded.  An older couple named Ed and Harriet following Nancy around?  This all refers back to the Stratemeyer Syndicate and is supposed to be cute and everything, but I found it extremely creepy and unsettling.  If we consider this series as Nancy Drew in an alternate reality, it's like Ed and Harriet have arrived from another world to mess with her.  In fact, the book almost comes out and states exactly that. On pages 20 and 21, Nancy reflects, "I'd had enough of Ed and Harriet to last me the rest of my vacation.  I was beginning to feel as if they were behind the scenes of a strange dream I was having, like puppet masters."  Creepy indeed.

Nancy has an incredible encounter with a shark on page 98 that is not believable.

This book seems like a bad Nancy Drew Digest book rewritten for the Girl Detective series.  I was bored by the last one-third of the book and just wanted it to end.  It was not suspenseful, and I did not care.  When the book was not outright creepy, it was mediocre.  It could have been so much more, but it missed the mark.

In Nancy Drew Girl Detective #14, Bad Times, Big Crimes, Nancy, Ned, Bess, and George attend a lecture at town hall about gangsters during the Great Depression.  Nancy can hardly stay awake, since she has been awake for 30 straight hours while solving a mystery.  Suddenly, Nancy notices that Ned is wearing a three-piece suit and a bowler hat.  The lecture is no longer about gangsters but about the hard times that the town is having.  Nancy observes that everyone is dressed strangely, so she runs outside, finds a paper, and sees that the year is 1930.  Nancy has traveled back in time!

I am certain that whether you have read this book or not that by the brief introduction that I just gave that you know exactly what really happened.  I knew as I was reading the book that Nancy had to have fallen asleep while at the meeting about gangsters.  So, I'm not spoiling anything by saying that it was a dream.  In fact, the book makes much more sense than if you consider it time travel.

My initial problem after Nancy arrived in 1930 was that the language was mostly modern with a few old-fashioned words thrown in.  This didn't make sense if Nancy was really in 1930.  Also, Nancy dials a seven-digit phone number in 1930 and reflects that it is the same as her current (modern) phone number.  That's not possible, since phone numbers did not have seven digits in 1930.  But it makes perfect sense if the story has been dreamed up by modern Nancy who wouldn't know any better.  She also wouldn't dream up completely authentic vintage language for the other people in the story.

Once I accepted that Nancy was dreaming everything and that it made perfect sense in that context, I greatly enjoyed the story.  The end of the book has a statement that makes it seem like Nancy's adventures in 1930 were not in a dream.  I have to disregard that, because if I believe it, then I have to consider the book poorly written with many details wrong about 1930.

I enjoyed this book once I got past my initial discomfort about Nancy's experiences in 1930.

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