Sunday, November 5, 2017

Nancy Drew Diaries #15 The Professor and the Puzzle

In Nancy Drew Diaries #15, The Professor and the Puzzle, Nancy, Bess, and George attend Oracle College's Greek Gala.  During the party, a student falls from the balcony and is injured.  Nancy suspects sabotage and begins an investigation.

Pages 3, 9, 58, 97, and 116 feature a character smirking.  Nancy smirks on three of those pages.  I hate that word and its use in the Nancy Drew Diaries series.  Nancy Drew should not smirk.

On page 30, Nancy reflects, "Events like this could be overwhelming for some—the noise, the crush of the crowd, the forced small talk.  Even I was starting to crave a little solitude and fresh air right about now."  This is not Nancy Drew!  The characterization is so wrong in this book!

On page 36, Nancy "commanded [her] mind to be calm."  Even worse, Nancy's voice is shaky on page 37.

On page 39, Nancy's problems worsen.  (Personally, I think the poor girl needs to be placed in a mental institution; either that, or I do for reading this book.)  "I realized that I had a pounding headache.  It almost felt like something was inside my brain, trying to punch its way out."  Nancy then has to go sit down.  Yep, she needs to be committed.  This is not how Nancy Drew is supposed to behave during a case.

When the pounding headache came on, I momentarily misunderstood.  I thought that the drinks had been poisoned, which is why Nancy suddenly had a pounding headache.  I then quickly realized that the author was showing Nancy as weak, since apparently girls must want to read about weak girl detectives.  It made no sense.  In all previous Nancy Drew series, a pounding headache would have meant that Nancy had been poisoned or had become ill.  This series is so bizarre.

On page 75, the reader learns that Dr. Stone takes insulin injections for her low blood glucose.  I was so confused.

Most of page 76 describes Nancy's queasiness over seeing an insulin injection.  There isn't any blood visible!  I cannot stand how Nancy Drew is portrayed in this series.  It is truly pathetic.

Bess and George seem to be making up excuses when Nancy wants them to help solve the mystery.  By a comment that George makes at the end of the story, I figured out that George's excuse must have been real.  However, it came across as totally fake as I read the story.  This might have been an attempt at humor, but it fell flat for me.

On page 84, Nancy "glanced over at Iris, who was rolling her eyes in that familiar oh Nancy sort of way."  This is more disparagement, and it adds nothing to the story.

On page 87, Nancy's "heart was racing," and the text implies that she felt terror.  On page 88, Nancy is called a "high schooler."  How many times do they need to put Nancy in her place?  Is this series written by authors who hate Nancy Drew?

The next paragraph contains a strong hint about the culprit, so skip it if you don't want to read a possible spoiler.

The bottom part of page 91 makes it extremely obvious what the motive is, and the reader can easily guess the culprit.  Nancy, of course, has no idea.  To her credit, Nancy does suggest on page 93 that a faculty member could be the culprit.  You think?

On page 102, Nancy thinks two students in Dr. Stone's class are behaving suspiciously because she sees one boy showing the other something on his phone.  How shocking!  News flash, Nancy.  Most students do that nowadays.  They can't go more than a few minutes without looking at their phones!  There's nothing suspicious about it.

On page 103, Stone confiscates the cell phones from the two students since they had been warned not to use them in class, telling them that she will keep the phones until class on Wednesday.  Huh?  How would she get away with keeping their phones for multiple days?

On page 108, the reader learns that Nancy is prone to getting into trouble.  Iris warns her that she will have Bess and George call and yell at her.  This is so off.

On page 113, Nancy contemplates a 20-foot fall.  She concludes that she has a 50% chance of surviving serious injury.  I'm not so sure about that.  If Nancy has been trained on how to fall, then she might have a good chance of surviving serious injury.  However, this series has made it clear that Nancy is stupid and inept, so she would almost certainly be killed.

On page 129, George suggests that Nancy check the footage on the security cameras from during the gala.  That way, she might see what happened.  How brilliant!  Why does Nancy need her friends to tell her logical things to check while solving the mystery?  This is eerily similar to the Nancy Drew games.  In the book, George is on the phone giving Nancy advice, just like what happens in the Nancy Drew games.  The problem is that this story is not a Nancy Drew game!  Argh!

On page 149, Nancy runs out of gas.  How do you run out of gas in a modern car?  Don't they have a low fuel warning?  This is especially odd since Nancy has been at the college the entire time.  Did she actually arrive at the gala in a vehicle that was almost completely out of gas?

Two characters should have had less similar names.  I kept confusing Dr. Brown and Dr. Stone.  The names have shared letters and are the same length.  I couldn't keep them straight.

I do have two positive statements.  Nancy takes no bathroom breaks.  The cast of characters is kept to a minimum.

I did enjoy the book, but the plot is too simple and obvious.  Nancy's characterization is off for the entire story.  However, the book is quick, easy, and pleasant to read, so long as one doesn't think of it as a Nancy Drew book.  That's the problem.  The book would be just fine as anything other than a Nancy Drew book.

The Nancy Drew Diaries series was supposed to correct the problems of the Nancy Drew Girl Detective series.  Nancy was supposed to return to how she once was in the older Nancy Drew books.  Instead, Nancy has been made even less perfect than in the Girl Detective series.  The Girl Detective books do not portray Nancy as scared and weak all the time.

I no longer like the Nancy Drew Diaries series.  This series is an epic fail.  And this is coming from just about the only Nancy Drew fan who will admit to actually liking the Girl Detective series.  Everyone else dislikes or hates that series.  This means that I am more open-minded than anyone, but I no longer like the Nancy Drew Diaries series.

It's time for another relaunch.  I previously stated that I wanted both the Nancy Drew Diaries and Hardy Boys Adventures series to continue, simply because I really enjoyed the Hardy Boys Adventures books.  The Hardy Boys Adventures series started out strong, but it has now deteriorated in quality, so it's time to pull the plug.  How about we just go back to the premise of the Nancy Drew Digest series?  Those books are rather good.

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