Thursday, February 28, 2019

Judy Bolton #20 Warning on the Window and #21 Clue of the Stone Lantern

In Judy Bolton #20, The Warning on the Window, the construction in Roulsville is being sabotaged.  One man has been killed, and a number of accidents have occurred.  Peter is called to investigate, but he is attacked and nearly buried alive.  While Peter recovers in the hospital, Judy and Roberta investigate.

I rather like that Peter's injury keeps him out of the plot so that Judy can solve the mystery by herself.  Peter gets a bit tiresome when he knows what is going on and doesn't tell Judy.  This time, Peter cannot interfere with Judy's investigation.

This is an excellent book.

In Judy Bolton #21, The Clue of the Stone Lantern, Roberta is transfixed by a picture of a garden shown on a seed package.  At first, Judy doesn't realize the significance, but later, she discovers that Roberta is actually remembering a place from her past.  If Judy can find this garden, she may be able to locate Roberta's family.

I was a bit surprised when Peter refers to Judy's hair as her "titian locks" on page 56.  That word is not used in any other Judy Bolton book, and I have rarely ever seen it used in any series other than Nancy Drew.

This is also an excellent book.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Older Japanese Nancy Drew Books Part 3

I have two versions of The Sign of the Twisted Candles in Japanese.

Front of 1962 and 1971 slipcases

Back of 1962 and 1972 slipcases

The cover art on the 1962 book is rather disturbing.

1962 book

This Japanese edition of The Message in the Hollow Oak is from 1963.  The hardcover book comes in a slipcase.

This Japanese edition of The Mystery of the Ivory Charm is from 1983.  It is a hardcover book with dust jacket.

This Japanese edition of The Whispering Statue is from 1972.  The hardcover book comes in a slipcase.

Here are three versions of The Clue of the Tapping Heels

Front of 1968 and 1972 slipcases

Back of 1968 and 1972 slipcases

1985 dust jacket

Here are two versions of The Mystery at the Moss-Covered Mansion.

Front of 1968 and 1970 slipcases

Back of 1968 and 1970 slipcases

This Japanese edition of The Secret in the Old Attic is from 1956.  It is a softcover book with dust jacket.

This Japanese edition of The Ghost of Blackwood Hall is a hardcover book with dust jacket.  The book is from 1985.

This Japanese edition of The Scarlet Slipper Mystery is a hardcover book that is missing its dust jacket.  The book was published in 1968.

For more detailed information about the Japanese series books seen in this post, please visit the Japanese Nancy Drew books page of the Around the World with Nancy Drew website.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Older Japanese Nancy Drew Books Part 2

The Japanese Nancy Drew books pictured in this post were all purchased in 2018.

I have three different examples of The Secret of the Old Clock.

Front of 1965 and 1972 slipcases

Back of 1965 and 1972 slipcases

1985 dust jacket

This Japanese edition of The Hidden Staircase is a softcover book with dust jacket from 1956.

This Japanese edition of The Hidden Staircase is a hardcover book with dust jacket from 1968.

Here are three editions of The Secret at Shadow Ranch.

Front of 1967 and 1971 slipcases

Back of 1967 and 1971 slipcases

1985 dust jacket

This Japanese edition of The Secret of Red Gate Farm is a hardcover book with dust jacket.  It was published in 1974.  At least two other copies of this book sold on eBay in 2018.

This Japanese edition of Nancy's Mysterious Letter is a softcover book with dust jacket from 1961.

This Japanese edition of Nancy's Mysterious Letter is a hardcover book that is missing its dust jacket.  The book was published in 1968.

For more detailed information about the Japanese series books seen in this post, please visit the Japanese Nancy Drew books page of the Around the World with Nancy Drew website.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Older Japanese Nancy Drew Books Part 1

These books were published by Yomiuri Shimbun in the 1970s and 1980s.  The books are hardcover with dust jacket.  The books and jackets have the same image.  The books have the title in English on one side and in Japanese on the other.  The text is in Japanese.

For more detailed information about the Japanese series books seen in this post, please visit the Japanese Nancy Drew books page of the Around the World with Nancy Drew website.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Modern Softcover Japanese Nancy Drew Books

I purchased this Japanese Nancy Drew book during the summer of 2018.  It is a softcover book with dust jacket.  It was published in 1980.

The Ringmaster's Secret

The Japanese Nancy Drew books seen below are softcover books with dust jackets.  They were published by Four Bunko in around 2000.  These particular books were not purchased in 2018, and I have owned them for many years.

Old Clock and Shadow Ranch

Twisted Candles and Whispering Statue

Tapping Heels and Moss-Covered Mansion

These next Japanese Nancy Drew books are from the Girl Detective series and were published in 2007.  I purchased them in the summer of 2018.

Without a Trace and Race Against Time

Dressed to Steal and Murder on the Set

This next group of Japanese Nancy Drew books was first published in 2007.  They softcover books with dust jackets.  The English titles are printed on the front covers.  I purchased the first seven books in a bulk lot in early 2018.  As I wrote previously, I asked the seller of these books about the older Japanese books, which then led to multiple Japanese sellers listing the older books on eBay.  I then purchased the eighth book from this set later in the year from another Japanese seller.

Old Clock and Hidden Staircase

Bungalow Mystery and Lilac Inn

Shadow Ranch and Red Gate Farm

Clue in the Diary and Nancy's Mysterious Letter

For more detailed information about the Japanese series books seen in this post, please visit the Japanese Nancy Drew books page of the Around the World with Nancy Drew website.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

2018: The Year of the Japanese Series Book

I will remember 2018 primarily as the year of the Japanese series book.

Some of you have been aware of the Japanese editions of series books that have been showing up on eBay since the summer of 2018.  A couple of people who purchased just a few of the books have mentioned them on Facebook.  I avoided those discussions, since I didn't want to reveal that I had purchased many of the books.  One person even posted a laughing emoji about the prices.  Seeing someone make fun of the prices of books that I was buying was rather annoying.

I kept quiet about the books so that as many of the books as possible would expire from eBay's search results before I admitted to buying any of them.  I am admitting to it now, but most of the listings have expired, so you can't see a list of exactly what I paid for each book.  I prefer it that way.

Finally, I kept quiet so as not to draw more attention to the books.  I was fortunate to be able to purchase all of the oldest and scarcest Nancy Drew books that showed up.  While I would have preferred for the books to be less expensive, I was also thankful that the prices were higher than most would pay.  This kept most people from even thinking about buying the books.  Only around five or so people might possibly have purchased the books if they had seen them first.  The prices kept my competition down.

In fact, I missed out on some Judy Bolton books since I neglected to check eBay one morning and someone else got them first.  A few of you also purchased some of the Nancy Drew books that were duplicates of ones that I had purchased on eBay just weeks before.  So, some of us understood the scarcity and desirability of the books while few others did.

If you were aware of the listings, you didn't know that I was an important link in the chain of events that led to the books getting listed in eBay.  In fact, I am directly responsible for causing the Japanese series books to be listed on eBay.  Here is what happened.

I have wanted the older Japanese editions of Nancy Drew books for many years.  The books are so neat but so hard to find.  I cannot read or write Japanese, so that is a huge barrier.  I have found a few books over the years, mainly recent paperback titles that are much less interesting than the older editions.

Almost 11 years ago, I found a Japanese site that showed pictures of some Japanese series books.  I saved the images to this blog so that I would at least have that.  I didn't know if the Japanese site would stay up, and I wanted to be able to see the pictures even if I was never able to own the books.

Japanese Editions of Series Books

Japanese Editions of Series Books Part II

I was able to purchase some of the recent Japanese softcover books in the last few years, but those aren't the very neat older editions with slipcases and dust jackets that I so covet.  I did end up with two Nancy Drew books with slipcases and dust jackets in a couple of random purchases in the last few years.  Aside from that, I had no luck.

In the spring of 2018, a Japanese seller listed a small bulk lot of one of the modern Japanese paperback formats, one that I didn't have.  After I received the books, I started thinking about how to find the older editions.  I used Lea Fox's site to paste some of the titles into the Amazon Japan site and located some of the Yomiuri Shimban books from the 1980s that have dust jackets.  I used Google Translate to translate the pages.  The prices weren't bad, but the sellers didn't have international shipping set up.  I might have been able to figure something out, but the situation would have been difficult and far out of my comfort zone.

Here is one of the product pages on Amazon Japan.

I kept thinking about the situation and finally decided to send a message to the seller of the books that I had most recently purchased on eBay.  I was shocked when that seller then listed some of the Yomiuri Shimban books from the late 1970s and early 1980s with dust jackets.  Eureka!  The books were a bit expensive, but I wanted them.  I purchased the books, and that was money well spent.  Guess why?

Immediately after I purchased those books, at least two other Japanese sellers then listed additional copies of the same books for sale.  The sellers must have software that tracks what has sold on eBay so that they know what to list.

Suddenly, Japanese Nancy Drew books were readily available on eBay!  Best of all, one of those Japanese sellers began to list the very hard to find old Japanese editions with slipcases and dust jackets.  Wow.

When the books were mentioned on Facebook, some people questioned why the prices were so high.  Some thought that it would be better to go to Japan and find the books.  Assuming that the books could be found, one still has to pay airfare, lodging, and transportation.  The books would not be cheap once the other costs were factored in.  Of course, if one were to be going to Japan anyway, then the cost of the trip would be irrelevant.

However, this is assuming that the books can actually be found in Japan.  I have heard about collectors who have traveled to other countries and tried to find series books as they vacation.  They usually cannot find any, or they find very few.  The international editions are not just laying around waiting for one of us to show up.

I consider it far easier just to buy the books than to try to travel to Japan to purchase them.  If some of the books are priced a bit high, then that cost is a convenience fee.

So very many Japanese series books were listed on eBay in 2018 that I had to make a decision as to whether to purchase all of them.  It was given that I would purchase most of the Nancy Drew books.  I had to make a decision about the other series books that showed up.

In the last couple of years, I have begun to narrow down my collection of international editions to only the series that are the most important to me.  I have sold my Norwegian Cherry Ames and Vicki Barr books.  I am in the process of selling some of my French Dana Girls books.  I find that I do not like most international editions of the Dana Girls series because the covers are too bizarre for my taste.

I do tend to really like the international Judy Bolton books.  I decided to purchase the Japanese Judy Bolton books that came up for sale while passing on the Dana Girls and Vicki Barr books.

I ended up purchasing a rather large number of Japanese Nancy Drew and Judy Bolton books.  Pictures will follow.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Judy Bolton #19 The Secret of the Musical Tree

In Judy Bolton #19, The Secret of the Musical Tree, Judy and Peter try to visit Roxy at her home in Cleveland, but the maid answers the door, claiming that Roxy is away.  Later, Judy is mistaken for Roxy in a department store, and Judy learns some information that leads her to believe that Roxy is in trouble.  Judy calls Roxy's home and speaks to her, but Roxy is vague and mysterious.  Judy is certain that Roxy is in trouble and must find a way to help her.

The plot of this book is apparently similar to Dorothy Dixon and the Double Cousin.  I have never read the Dorothy Dixon book.  I intended to years ago, but I couldn't stand the writing style of the books.  They did not appeal to me.  I cannot confirm this myself, but a review on Goodreads gives enough information that it is apparent that the plots are indeed similar.

On page 89, Judy requests that Mrs. Bolton drop everything and come to her house to take care of Roberta while she leaves for Cleveland.  "Oh, Dad can take care of himself.  I hate to ask you to drop everything and come, but you'll be coming for Christmas anyway.  In case I'm delayed, you can fix the tree and put the packages around it just the way you always used to at home."

This seems rather presumptuous.  Doesn't Mrs. Bolton have some Christmas preparations of her own?  Not only that, but Judy just expects Mrs. Bolton to set up Judy's Christmas decorations and presents for her.  Wow.

This is an excellent book.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Judy Bolton #17 The Rainbow Riddle and #18 The Living Portrait

In Judy Bolton #17, The Rainbow Riddle, Judy and Peter are married in a double wedding in which Arthur and Lorraine are also married.  Roberta arrives unexpectedly just before the wedding and seems quite afraid that Judy and Peter will be injured.  Roberta disappears with one of the wedding presents, and shortly thereafter, an explosion is heard.  This is passed off as nothing, and Peter acts mysterious.

I can't stand it when Peter keeps rather important details from Judy.  This book isn't even a mystery, and it bored me.  The book is a favorite among many Judy Bolton fans, and those people likely enjoy sentimental books much more than I do.  I want a good mystery and care nothing about sentiment.

I skimmed much of this book.  This is really just a wedding and honeymoon story.  The Rainbow Riddle is now my least favorite book in the series. I do not like it.

In Judy Bolton #18, The Living Portrait, Roberta now lives with Judy and Peter.  She acts as if the portrait in the living room is real and that it talks to her.  She calls the woman her teacher, and Judy doesn't understand what Roberta means.  Prowlers roam around the property at night, and it soon becomes apparent that they want the portrait.  What is special about the portrait?

Why does the portrait, as seen on the cover, look like Judy?  The girl is not supposed to look just like Judy.

This book is interesting at first but then it drags in the middle and towards the end.  Way too much time is spent looking for Blackberry, and I became bored.

Once again, Peter keeps details from Judy, and of course, the case is his instead of hers.  This is supposed to be the Judy Bolton series—not the Peter Dobbs FBI series.

On this reading, I found this story to be a bit slow and uninteresting.  It is still overall good.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Judy Bolton #15 Mark on the Mirror and #16 Secret of the Barred Window

In Judy Bolton #15, The Mark on the Mirror, the girls throw a wedding shower for Judy and Lorraine.  A mirror for Judy is brought to the shower by a masked messenger, and Lorraine is convinced that Arthur gave the present to Judy.

Judy must prove that Lorraine is wrong, and she is certain that the mysterious gift is tied to the mirror that had previously fallen from the wall in the Bolton home.  Who broke it?  And what was the meaning of the mysterious mark on the mirror?

The cover art has always bothered me.  I have never felt that the shape of the back of Judy's hair quite matches what is seen in the mirror.  Blackberry is also messed up.  Blackberry's reflection looks fine, but there's something wrong with the position of Blackberry, his leg, and Judy's hand as they appear before the mirror.  His leg seems to be turned around backwards.  Yikes.

This is a very good book.

In Judy Bolton #16, The Secret of the Barred Window, Judy goes to New York City to purchase her wedding dress.  She stays with Pauline Faulkner.  At Pauline's request, Judy travels with her to Connecticut to search for a missing author.  The girls are unable to find the author, but even worse, Judy loses her wedding dress.

Judy learns that Lorraine is upset once again, and this time, the double wedding may be called off.  Judy must find her dress and the missing author as she tries to find some way to patch up the mess with Lorraine.

Roberta is introduced on page 50.  Roberta will be an important part of the series up through volume 21.

This book is rather depressing.  On my previous readings through the series, I always considered #8 The Voice in the Suitcase to be the most depressing book in the series.  It didn't really bother me this time, though.  Now, I consider this book to be a real downer.  Judy has lost her dress, Lorraine is calling off the wedding, and a strange house has a barred window and muddy tracks on a bed.  Yuck!

This is an overall very good story, but it is depressing.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Nancy Drew Diaries #17 Famous Mistakes

In Nancy Drew Diaries #17, Famous Mistakes, Ned is set to interview controversial comedian Brady Owens for his podcast.  When Nancy and Ned arrive at Brady's hotel room, they find the door ajar.  The room has been torn apart!

Brady recently suggested that a woman who interrupted him during a show be mugged outside by other audience members.  Ever since, protesters have been after him and might be the ones who trashed the hotel room.  The director of the River Heights Arts Complex wants to call off that night's show due to safety concerns.  Nancy has just hours to solve this mystery.

This book is an interesting contrast to some of the other books in the series, particularly the poorly executed The Haunting on Heliotrope Lane.  In Heliotrope Lane, Nancy is so frightened that she shakes in fear throughout the book.  The Nancy Drew Diaries stories have mainly consisted of boring sabotage plots while the Hardy Boys Adventures books have had the more creative plots.  The Hardy Boys have been depicted as great at solving mysteries while Nancy Drew has not been able to solve mysteries on her own and has had trouble motivating herself.

This book corrects all of the problems.  First and foremost, the plot of this book is not sabotage.  The story appears to be sabotage and is treated as such for most of the book.  However, the book has a plot twist towards the end.  I'll leave it at that.

On page 2, Ned's hands are shaking because he is nervous.  On page 14, Ned admits that he is "freaked out."  In these books, Nancy is usually the one who shakes and is freaked out.  I found it rather interesting that Ned, a male, is the one who is shaking and freaking.  Hmm.

Page 35 contains these interesting remarks by Nancy and Ned.
"I'm sure," I said.  "Preventing sabotage is kind of my specialty."

"There is a lot of sabotage in River Heights," Ned said.
OMG.  I had already noted Ned's fear, which I found rather interesting.  After I read the comments about sabotage, I knew that the person who wrote this particular book must be aware of comments made by fans.  This person might have read this blog or could have read comments on Facebook.  Regardless, they know.  This is good.  Now, if we could only have this person write the rest of the books.

On page 47, Nancy speaks to Bess and George on the phone.
"Yeah, he's okay, but we're on a case."

"What?!"  Bess and George said in unison.  Even though I wasn't with them, I knew they were both leaning into the phone excitedly.  I may have the reputation for being a detective, but my friends have helped me on almost every case; they like solving mysteries about as much as I do.
I'll say it again:  Let's keep this author writing the books.  Please.

Technology is used a lot in this book, and it is used properly, not as some kind of joke against Nancy like in several previous titles.

The text contains no mention of pee or restrooms, which has been a problem in previous titles.  The story has no smirking or disparaging remarks made about Nancy and her sleuthing skills.  Nancy is not forgetful.

I have no complaints.  None.

The story is very modern with a modern theme, but that's actually great.  Readers of the vintage Nancy Drew books probably would not enjoy this kind of story, but the story is not aimed at them.  This story is for modern readers, and it succeeds.  If Simon and Schuster will continue with this person as the writer and with similar stories, then Nancy Drew will continue to be a viable franchise.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

The Girl with the Silver Eyes and Haunted Summer

In The Girl with the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts, Katie Welker is different.  Her eyes are silver, and she can make objects move just by thinking about them.  Some people think Katie might be a witch, and none of the children like her.  Katie feels very alone until she learns that her mother worked for a pharmaceutical company while pregnant.  Mrs. Welker used a drug that was later discontinued for safety reasons.  Katie also learns that three other workers were pregnant at the same time.  Katie wonders if these other children are like her, and she tries to find them.

This was one of my favorite books when young.  I read it multiple times.  I decided to read it again recently to see if it would hold up, and it does.  I still find the story to be excellent.  Now that I am much older, I do see some flaws in the plot that were not apparent to me when I was young.  Katie finds the other children too easily, and the ending of the book is a bit rushed.  However, the story is still great and is quite engaging.

In Haunted Summer by Hope Dahle Jordan, Rilla Marston hits something while driving the florist's delivery truck on a foggy night.  Rilla is horrified to see that she has run over a boy on a bicycle.  She takes him to the hospital, then she panics and flees.  Later, Rilla learns that the authorities are looking for a boy—Rilla has short hair, so the nurse must have thought she was a boy.  Rilla is safe; no one is looking for her.  However, Rilla is consumed by guilt when she learns that the boy was seriously injured.  How can Rilla go on with her life when she knows what she did?

Rilla's full name is Marilla Marston.  I love her name.

This is an excellent story.