Friday, August 30, 2019

Nancy Pembroke #5 Junior and #6 Nova Scotia

In Nancy Pembroke #5, Nancy Pembroke, Junior, Nancy and her friends return to Roxford.  As members of the junior class, the girls must mentor the younger girls.  Nancy finally realizes how awful she behaved during the previous year and vows to improve.

The story arc of this book centers around Nancy's personal growth.  She gradually becomes a much nicer person and is less flighty.  She quits treating Philip badly and even becomes friends with him.  For a time, I thought that Philip might be a prospective suitor, even though Nancy has written to a young man named Curtis for quite some time.

On page 20, the reader learns some interesting information about one of the professors.  "Professor Cummings stayed in town all summer, and has been playing around with a young kid from high school."  OMG.

Now that the girls are in one of the upper classes, they are no longer interested in hazing.  Instead, the girls form a secret society for the purpose of helping people in need.

This is a very good book.

In Nancy Pembroke #6, Nancy Pembroke in Nova Scotia, Nancy and her friends travel to Nova Scotia.  Nancy further matures, and she even falls in love with a young man named Jim.  In this book, the reader learns about Nancy's beliefs concerning romance and men.

Jim rescues Nancy from a predicament and impulsively kisses her.  From pages 168 and 169:
Her cheeks burned as she recalled his good night, yet she could not, some way, feel angry at him, as she should.  Why?  She had always hated any form of "necking" and a boy who tried it even once was out of her good graces.

"You're so funny, Nan," remarked one of her admirers, smarting from a rebuke.  "Everyone does it now."

"That may be," she had replied.  "Let 'everyone.'  I won't."

"But why?  There is no harm in it," he had persisted.

"Whether there is harm in it or not, I don't like it.  I consider love and all that goes with it such a wonderful, such a sacred thing, that I don't care to spoil it by playing at it with Tom, Dick, and Harry.  My kisses and hugs are going to be kept for the one right man; if he ever comes.  This wholesale display of affection is unspeakably cheap and disgusting, and I won't be a party to it."
I like how Nancy stands up for her convictions.  But wait...  Nancy used to kiss Uncle John on the lips.  So it's fine for Nancy to "neck" with her uncle but not with prospective suitors.  Um, okay.  The last part of the Nancy Pembroke set is like a different series from the first part.

On page 206, Nancy and Jeanette speak about the importance of finishing their education.  Nancy remarks, "I really want to finish college, and be prepared to earn my living in some way if it is ever necessary.  So many girls think that if they can only get hold of a man, they need never lift a finger again."

Jeanette then replies, "I know; and one can never be sure what will happen at some time in the future.  It is foolish not to find out what one thing we can do well, and then fit ourselves to do it.  Then, in an emergency, there is something to depend upon."

These girls, especially Nancy, have really matured.

This is a very good to excellent book.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Dana Girls #10 The Mysterious Fireplace

In Dana Girls #10, The Mysterious Fireplace, Captain Dana's friend, Tom Fairweather, invites the Danas to spend Christmas at Highfort, an estate that he is currently in the process of purchasing.  The Danas arrive at Highfort to discover that Mr. Fairweather has disappeared.  Adding to the mystery is the appearance of two other parties who claim ownership to the estate.

Of course Lettie Briggs also shows up at Highfort as a guest of the caretaker.  Lettie provides the comic relief.  She roams around with a gun, managing to shatter a window, and later, she shoots a bear.

On pages 130 and 131, Sonya creates an "animated gingerbread man" by baking a gingerbread man with a wire inside.  When the gingerbread man is ready, Sonya opens the oven, grabs the wire, and the gingerbread man hops out of the oven.  Sonya makes him walk towards Applecore, who is frightened.

I took the scene at face value years before when I read the story and never really thought about it.  I now question whether this is possible.  The gingerbread man would have to have been overcooked in order for the wire to stay inside so that he could walk without falling apart.  Perhaps the gingerbread man is smaller than I imagine it.  I am picturing one the size of a cookie sheet.  A small one would be less impressive but more likely to work.

The clue to Mr. Fairweather's location is how he addresses his letter to Captain Dana, calling him "Ned Krad Dana" when Captain Dana doesn't have "Krad" in his name.  Jean figures out that this is a clue and that "Ned Krad" should be read backwards as "dark den."  Oh, come on.  This is stupid.

How on earth are the girls supposed to know where to find a building that contains a "dark den"?  How could they spot this "dark den" by driving around the countryside?  Obviously, this is the best that the creator of the story could think up.  It's rather lame.

The Olavus and the Danas tear up all the fireplaces and cannot find the missing papers.  After they destroy everything, they finally realize that the Christmas tree that was overturned by the nighttime intruder just might be important.  They then find the passageway that leads to the discovery of the papers.  What a waste to tear up the house!

I consider this story to be Kay Tracey-esque in a rather epic fashion.  I love it.  This is a very good but rather strange story.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Removing Permanent Marker from Books

I recently purchased a partial set of Dana Girls books online that had prices written on the spines.  I wasn't sure whether the prices were in grease pencil or black marker, but I decided to take a risk and purchase the books anyway.  When the books arrived, I discovered that the prices had been written in black marker, which was quite unfortunate.  Marker can sometimes be removed, but more often, it cannot be removed.  The determining factor is how porous the cover is.

Here are the seller's pictures.

Ugh.  This was pretty dreadful.  I knew that I could partially remove the marker, but I wasn't sure to what degree.  I began with some lighter fluid first.  I wiped at one spine, and the lighter fluid smeared the marker.  That approach was too risky.  I didn't like the idea of smearing the marker all over the spine.  I was afraid that some of it would soak into the cover.

I next switched to a soft eraser.  I was able to remove around three-fourths of the marker with the eraser, then I decided to see what would happen if I were to use lighter fluid.  I wiped a paper towel dampened with lighter fluid across the remaining marker.  Since only some marker remained, just a little smearing occurred.  I immediately tried erasing again.  More of the marker lifted off quite easily.  Wetting the remaining marker with lighter fluid caused the marker to loosen enough to be erased better.  I repeated the process, wiping with lighter fluid, erasing again, and then repeating the process until the marker was gone.

I spent around 30 minutes on the books, but I was able to remove nearly all of the marker.  Around half of the books still have a shadow of the price still present, but they look so much better now.

Books with prices written on the spines are quite undesirable, and the books will now look presentable on a shelf.

These books are Grosset and Dunlap matte picture covers of the 1960s.  The picture covers of the 1960s have more of a glossy matte finish.  The glossiness does help prevent marker from soaking into the cover.

Lighter fluid and eraser probably will not work on marker on the Grosset and Dunlap matte picture cover books of the 1970s and 1980s.  Those books are a porous matte.  I have tried to remove marker from those books, failing miserably.  It is better not to try.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Dana Girls #9 The Secret at the Gatehouse

In Dana Girls #9, The Secret at the Gatehouse, Mr. Warrington is one of the owners of Captain Dana's ship.  Rumors are floating around that Mr. Warrington is having trouble with the government, and the Danas worry that this could affect Captain Dana's job.  Meanwhile, the girls chance to meet Mrs. Zerbe, who has worked for Mr. Warrington for many years.  Through Mrs. Zerbe, the girls learn about a secret in the gatehouse.  Prowlers are spotted near the gatehouse, and the girls worry that the secret might impact Mrs. Warrington's business.

It's really odd how much school the girls miss.  They are out of school for most of this story and miss quite a few days, and they had just been out on a ranch in the previous book.

On page 17, Lettie has set three dogs loose at Starhurst at night.  The Danas try to get the dogs out, and this results in them being blamed.  I'm not sure why the girls are the only ones to get involved, and their action is what causes them the problem.

On page 62, a man is described as having "black, curly hair and rather bold manners."  The girls feel that the description is "vaguely familiar."  On page 76, the man is described as having "black eyes and curly hair, and a conceited air about him."  Suddenly the girls know that the man is Abe Mantel.  How did they not know the first time?  This is an example of lazy and careless writing where information is kept from the reader.  The reader doesn't know what Abe Mantel looks like until page 76.  The Dana girls do know, so they should have recognized the description the first time.

These old books usually have racial stereotypes which are offensive to varying degrees.  This book has a passage that I find to be particularly offensive, more so than many stereotypes in these old books.

Miss Warrington has a colored chauffeur.  On page 172, the farmer's wife is concerned about not having enough room for the visitors when she learns that the group has a chauffeur.  Louise tells her that the chauffeur can sleep downstairs.  The farmer's wife then asks if the chauffeur is honest.  The implication is that a colored man wouldn't be honest.  I find it offensive to judge someone based solely on his race.  The woman finally agrees to let the chauffeur sleep in the kitchen instead of outside in the cold.

On page 213, it is revealed that Kaner tried to blackmail Warrington regarding the secret he knew.  On page 215, Jean burns the papers that contain Warrington's secret.  Jean declares, "Mr. Warrington's secret will be safe forever."  Um, what about Kaner?  He knew part of the secret, and we are just supposed to assume that he will never reveal it at any point in the future.

This book reads just like the early Nancy Drew books.  It isn't overly bizarre like the average Dana Girls book.  This is a very good story and one that Nancy Drew fans would definitely enjoy.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Nancy Pembroke #3 Sophomore at Roxford and #4 New Orleans

In Nancy Pembroke #3, Nancy Pembroke, Sophomore at Roxford, Nancy and Jeanette have transferred to Roxford.  Nancy cannot bear to stay in Eastport with Uncle John gone for a year, which is why she switches schools.  I personally don't see the difference, since Nancy is away from her uncle either way.  Furthermore, Nancy loses all of her friends when she changes to a new college.  Nancy makes some strange decisions.

On page 21, the reader is introduced to Philip Spenser.  Philip's friend tells him, "[Y]our family has made a perfect ass out of you."  I have to say that I greatly enjoyed the entrance of Philip.  It's also a bit odd, since up to this point the series has been told from Nancy's viewpoint.  This book alternates between Nancy and Philip.

Nancy is absolutely horrible to Philip in this book.  It's quite distressing.

On page 44, Nancy tells Jeanette about how she sent a picture in the mail to her father.  The picture and its outer wrapping arrived separately.  This is apparently the most amazingly funny story that the girls greatly indulge in repeating.  My problem is that this same story is in the first book of the series on page 169, told a little differently.  The author even uses the same poem again.  This story must have been too short, so the author stuck in some filler.  The A. L. Burt Company was more concerned about the length of the text than the quality of the story.  Read this post for more information.

These books are a tad bit more old fashioned than typical books of 1930 and later.

This series sends the message that hazing is just fine.  The girls are informed that hazing teaches them good life skills and that they should put up with whatever is done to them and accept their punishment with good spirit.  The girls are also told that whenever they are not being hazed that they will be on friendly terms with the perpetrators.

Some of the hazing includes making a girl walk ahead of a car on the road while the car's bumper pushes her along.

Philip is hazed by being forced to escort pedestrians back and forth across a busy intersection.  A crowd forms, and traffic is completely blocked for quite some time.  I find it amazing that law enforcement doesn't care that the college students shut down roads while they haze each other.

I enjoyed this book.

In Nancy Pembroke #4, Nancy Pembroke in New Orleans, Nancy and her friends discuss what to do over the summer break, and this includes going to New Orleans to visit dear Uncle John.

I could not read this book.  I figured that it would be something of another travelogue, and the beginning of the story is boring.  I did skip through a few parts of it, but I read very little.

I should note that near the end of the previous book, Nancy Pembroke, Sophomore at Roxford, Uncle John gets married!  Yay!  Nancy, of course, is utterly devastated.  The good news is that by the fifth book in the set, Uncle John is no longer of any importance to the series.  I am very glad of that.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Dana Girls #8 The Clue in the Cobweb

In Dana Girls #8, The Clue in the Cobweb, Katherine Blore disappeared mysteriously from Captain Dana's ship.  Captain Dana enlists the help of his nieces in locating the woman.  Jean and Louise check Katherine Blore's current residence only to find her gone.  The landlord becomes ill, so the girls help him get the house rented.  While in the house, Louise falls ill, and it is believed that an herb might be responsible.

On page 48, Ina Mason complains that Mrs. Crandall favors the Dana Girls.  This actually is true.  Mrs. Crandall lets them miss school all the time and very often lets them leave on the weekends.

On page 71, the girls need a taxi so that they can trail a suspect.  One of the instructors comes along, and Jean asks to borrow his car.  The instructor agrees.  This rather amazed me.  The instructor doesn't know why the girls need his car, and he's fine with them taking it.

On page 84, Mrs. MacVey offers to loan Louise any book that she might find interesting.  After Louise finds one, Mrs. MacVey tells her "don't be in a hurry about returning it."  Of course we know that Louise will return the book, but this kind of remark made to most people would likely result in the book never coming back.

I absolutely hate dialect in series books.  I cannot stand it.  Dialect makes the text unnecessarily hard to read, and in these old series books, the dialect is usually offensive.  I especially am annoyed when the author inconsistently writes the dialect.  As distasteful as the dialect is, at least the authors should bother to be consistent about it.  If the author is going to go there, then the dialect should not be written in a slipshod fashion.

On page 107, Wu Sing has an odd speech pattern.  "Young Amelicans crash-crash door and set Charlie free."  Also, "Charlie Young velly hard boy to clatch."

It's rather odd how Wu Sing sometimes can pronounce the "r" sound and other times cannot.  Wu Sing's speech pattern is an example of slipshod dialect.

It's a bit random for the Danas to fly out to a ranch in the west in the middle of the story.  The story bored me from that point on, and I skimmed to the end.  I didn't find the story that good even before the western excursion.

The book is overall good, but it is a weak Dana Girls mystery.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Nancy Pembroke #1 College Maid and #2 Vacation in Canada

In Nancy Pembroke #1, Nancy Pembroke, College Maid, Nancy and her best friend, Jeanette, go away to college in Eastport.  Nancy chose Eastport because her beloved Uncle John lives there, and Nancy cannot bear to be far away from him.  The girls soon experience constant hazing by the girls of the sophomore class.  Meanwhile, the girls look forward to joining a sorority.

Nancy is rather immature, wild, and flighty during the early books in this series.  I like her well enough, but at times, she is rather hard to take.  Nancy has an unusually close relationship with her uncle which comes across as incestuous.  On page 83, Nancy gives Uncle John an "especially loving kiss."  On page 134, Uncle John gives Nancy a "tenderly indulgent" smile.  On page 144, Nancy lays "a caressing hand on his."

From page 220:
[Uncle John] smiled his slow, thoughtful smile. "I thought perhaps you might enjoy being nearer me—"

He never finished his sentence, for Nancy's arms around his neck and her kisses on his mouth made further speech impossible, and left no possible doubt of her preference.
The hazing includes girls being whipped and paddled.  Hazing is so prevalent in this book that it seems like the girls attend college solely for the purpose of harassing each other.  They certainly are not very interested in studies.

This book contains lengthy poetry that was written by Jeanette.  The poetry actually isn't bad at all, and I read some of it in the early part of the story.  I then decided that the poetry was taking up too much time and was way too long.  The poems sometimes cover around two entire pages.  After reading the first few poems, I skipped over the rest of them.  I don't have time for that.

I enjoyed this book.

In Nancy Pembroke #2, Nancy Pembroke's Vacation in Canada, the girls go on an incredibly boring vacation in Canada where the reader must endure lengthy explanations about the historical significance of every statue seen in Canada.

On page 9, Nancy gives Uncle John six kisses.

Uncle John prepares to depart for Europe, and he may be gone for a year.  Nancy is utterly devastated, and she acts like he has died.  I don't understand Nancy's unhealthy attachment to her uncle.  She does still have her parents, so I fail to understand why she is so very dependent on her uncle.

This book is an extremely boring travelogue.  It actually makes the more boring Stratemeyer Syndicate travelogues seem rather good in comparison.  This book is basically a history book.

It also doesn't help that Nancy continues to behave like she has no common sense.  For instance, she cannot get a bottle of ginger ale open, so she smashes the neck of the bottle against a bowl, breaking it.  The drink spews, and then the girls seriously consider drinking the remains of the ginger ale from the broken bottle.  Fortunately, the girls decide to throw out the ginger ale.

I read around half of the book, then I skipped over chunks of 10 to 15 pages at a time.  Each time I skipped ahead, I briefly read more historical information similar to what I saw during the previous set of pages.

I did not like this book.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Selling Books with Pulp Paper

During World War I and World War II, Grosset and Dunlap used pulp paper in its books due to paper shortages.  Cupples and Leon also used pulp paper in its books during World War II.  Other publishers such as Goldsmith, Whitman, and World Publishing Company used pulp paper in all of their books. 

Pulp paper does not age well.  I have now collected books for 28 years.  Grosset and Dunlap books from World War II with pulp paper were not in good shape 28 years ago, and I have noticed a significant decrease in condition of those books since that time.  The condition will only get worse as more time passes.

I don't know how much longer the books can even last in usable condition.  By the time the books are 100 years old, they may begin disintegrating.  Some books are already at that point.  I have seen a few Kay Tracey Cupples and Leon books with pulp paper from World War II with what I call "binding rot."  The binding looks like it is turning into compost.  Pieces fall out, and the paper detaches from the binding.  Add another 25 to 50 years, and far more of the books will have binding rot.

Selling books with pulp paper is quite problematic.  I seldom have books that I have sold returned to me due to buyer dissatisfaction, but when books are returned, they are usually returned because of pulp paper.

I try to convey to buyers in such a way that they know that the books have pulp paper.  I can do this easier on eBay, since I can use different colors of font in my listings in order to draw attention to the pulp paper.  I show a photograph of the pulp paper to try to get the point across.

On Etsy, I show a photo of the pulp paper and mention it in the description, but I cannot use a different color of font.  The way the pictures display in Etsy listings may make it less likely that buyers will view all photos and see the pulp paper.  I recently had a Nancy Drew book with pulp paper that was purchased on Etsy returned for a refund due to buyer dissatisfaction.  I decided to pull all of my Nancy Drew books with pulp paper off of Etsy.  It's just not worth the potential trouble.

The first two photos show the books that I just pulled off of Etsy.  The Message in the Hollow Oak with dust jacket seen on the right is the book that sold and was returned to me.

These next books have dust jackets and pulp paper.  They are extras that have not been listed for sale yet.

These last books are primarily books with condition issues that make them undesirable to sell individually.  The first three books in this group have pulp paper.  The rest of the books have good quality paper, although the paper looks similar to pulp paper due to the rough condition of the books.

I am going to place the books with jackets in individual listings on eBay.  The rest of the books will go in bulk lots.  For books like these, I strive to be blunt and make the books sound not that great.  Sometimes I try to make the books sound absolutely awful.  In those cases, the books are also priced really cheap.  I have never had one of my cheap bulk lots returned for a refund, so my approach seems to work well.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Dana Girls #7 The Mystery of the Locked Room

In Dana Girls #7, The Mystery of the Locked Room, Mrs. Crandall is thinking of purchasing a piece of property at Moon Lake to use as a camp for the girls of Starhurst.  Five girls are chosen to go on an exploratory trip to Moon Lake, including the Dana girls and Lettie Briggs.  The house that is located on the property may be haunted.  Jean and Louise must prove that the house is not haunted before Mrs. Crandall will consider purchasing the property.

After playing tennis, Jean and Louise are walking along when Jean swings her racket to demonstrate a serve.  Jean doesn't realize that a man is walking close behind the girls, and she hits him in the head with the racket.  Of course, the man is Lettie's friend, and she blames Jean.  On page 17, Jean complains, "It isn't fair, for I am entirely blameless."  Huh?  Jean did swing the racket, so she did cause the accident.  She didn't do it on purpose and shouldn't be accused of intentional harm, but she is hardly blameless.

Moon Lake is the location of the proposed girls' camp.  Moon Lake is also a location used in the Nancy Drew series.

On page 175, Jean and Louise worry about Applecore possibly eloping with Toby.  Jean comments, "Applecore isn't very bright, but she is too good for that shiftless fellow."  Toby was previously described as "moronic."  Cora Appel is rather a moron herself, so it seems to me that the two would make a perfect couple.

On page 210, Mona explains about her past.  She wandered away from her grandmother's home and was taken to a children's home.  Mona explains, "I was very happy in the institution."  Say what?!  Mona was happy to be in a children's home instead of with her grandmother.  This makes no sense!

This is a very good book.

On the Run with Trixie Belden Books

This is too good not to share.  This morning I was in a very light sleep.  Really, I just needed to get up and didn't want to bother.  This is when I usually remember the more outlandish dreams.

I was first outside an apartment complex where someone was selling just a few Nancy Drew matte picture covers and one Three Investigators hardcover book (Talking Skull) on some tables with other junk.  I had to go back home to get some cash.  But then the person and books disappeared.  Then they were back, but I wasn't able to get the books because someone else picked them up.

Later, I was in Dallas, barefoot, and on the run.  Some mysterious, evil organization was after me.  I was hoping to find some bookstores.  I'm not sure why, since it seemed that I had far bigger problems.  I passed by an appliance store with a large inventory of books on cooking and self-help books.  Bummer.

I then took refuge with some people who had two deluxe and two oval Trixie Belden books.  They told me that my location had been discovered and that I didn't have much time.  They (the people) disappeared.

I had to make an escape.  I took the four Trixie Belden books.  I didn't take the microwave popcorn, because I wasn't in the mood.  Besides, I couldn't take the microwave with me.

I went to the back of the house.  I climbed a staircase that led to a high window.  I opened it and climbed down a ladder that was attached to the outside wall.  The back of the house was in the deep woods, and by the way, I was still barefoot.  Why did I not find shoes while inside the house?  It was dark, and I worried about poison ivy.  A bright light appeared from above.  A spotlight!  Oh, no!  I made a run for it, Trixie Belden books in hand, and I woke up.

I assume that the dream was a merging of a young adult apocalyptic story with my interest in book collecting.  Let's face it; I was basically stealing Trixie Belden books from someone's house.  This is bad behavior, but in a story about an apocalyptic disaster, society collapses and everyone steals from everyone else.  It's curious that it was more important to take the Trixie Belden books than to take bottled water and other supplies.  I certainly wouldn't have lasted long on the run.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Nancy Drew Files Hardcover Library Editions

In the last couple of years, I decided to begin working on a set of the Nancy Drew Files in hardcover library editions.  Library editions are books that were rebound in a hardcover library binding.  All of the Nancy Drew Files library editions were once softcover books.

These books should not be confused with the set of 10 Nancy Drew Files books that were issued in a large format hardcover edition by Grey Castle Press.  Some of you will be surprised to learn that I have no interest in the books issued by Grey Castle Press.  I dislike books that are much larger than other similar books.  For the same reason, I do not collect some international edition Nancy Drew books that are quite large in format.  It's just an oddity I have.  Each of us has certain odd habits with respect to collecting, and often those odd habits make no sense to anyone else.

I want my Nancy Drew Files hardcover books to be the same size as the paperback books, so I have to go with the books rebound as hardcover books.

I recently added six hardcover Nancy Drew Files books to my set.

The books are in rough shape with lots of wear and tear.  My purpose when collecting library editions is simply to get a copy of each book.  I have to accept many books in rough shape.  When collecting library editions, one must expect a significant percentage of the books to be in rough shape.

I now have 54 of the 124 Nancy Drew Files books in hardcover.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Dana Girls #6 The Circle of Footprints

In Dana Girls #6, The Circle of Footprints, Louise and Jean become acquainted with the Doke family, who are very poor and in need of money.  Mason Doke's plane crashes and he later dies, leaving Mrs. Doke a widow.  A box of money is found in the Dokes' home, but Mrs. Doke fears that the money was stolen by her husband, so she refuses to use it.  The Danas are forced to hide the money for Mrs. Doke after a prowler tries to steal it.  Meanwhile, the girls try to find the actual owners of the money.

It is ridiculous how the girls continue to move the money from place to place, including a shed, a cellar, a cave, and a rocky ledge.  The money is placed everywhere except where it would actually be safe.

The plot of this book goes in circles, so the title is rather appropriate.  The story consists of way too many bizarre and improbable coincidences.  The Danas have a list of people who were swindled.  Each person they find just happens to know the very next person on the list or has some information that will lead the girls to the next person on the list.  The result is a very disjointed story that is held together by the coincidence of each person knowing the next person.

The book is very good at the start, but it gradually gets tiring.  The story is overall good.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Dana Girls #5 The Secret at the Hermitage

In Dana Girls #5, The Secret at the Hermitage, a former prison warden, Harold Norton, mistakenly believes that Louise is an escaped inmate, Nina Regan.  Louise bears some resemblance to Nina Regan, and nothing anyone says can convince Norton that Louise is not Nina.  Harold relentlessly pursues Louise, putting her in grave danger.

Meanwhile, the girls chance to become acquainted with Nina Regan and believe that she is innocent of the crime for which she was convicted.  The girls work to uncover evidence that will prove Nina's innocence.

It is a bit scary for the ex-warden to harass and try to capture Louise.  This makes the story quite suspenseful.

This book has some unusual events that are rather Kay Tracey-esque.  On page 93, an enraged tiger is stopped after it is hit in the nose by a box of chocolates.  The tiger begins licking at the chocolates, forgetting that it was angry and on the rampage.  On page 134, the hermitage is suddenly buried by a landslide.

On page 139, Nina communicates with the Danas by tapping out letters.  Jean proclaims that the code is simple.  "One tap for A, two for B, and so on."  Um, that would also mean 13 taps for M, 19 taps for S, and 26 taps for Z.  What kind of a stupid code is that?  It would take forever to send simple messages.  Of course, Nina and the Danas send lengthy messages back and forth without any trouble.

This is an excellent book.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Nancy Pembroke Series

The Nancy Pembroke series consists of seven books published by A. L. Burt under the pseudonym of Margaret T. Van Epps.  According to James Keeline, the books were written by Helen M. Persons.

1. Nancy Pembroke, College Maid, 1930
2. Nancy Pembroke's Vacation in Canada, 1930
3. Nancy Pembroke, Sophomore at Roxford, 1930
4. Nancy Pembroke in New Orleans, 1930
5. Nancy Pembroke, Junior, 1930
6. Nancy Pembroke in Nova Scotia, 1931
7. Nancy Pembroke, Senior, 1931

Some online sources indicate uncertainty about the correct order of the books in the series.  The books are listed in one order on each copyright page and in a different order on the back panel of each dust jacket.  Copyright registration records do not help, since five of the books were registered on the same date in yet another order.  I can confirm that the list seen above shows the correct order for the set.

I have always been interested in the Nancy Pembroke series but not to the point of trying to find the books.  Many years ago, I heard about the hazing that occurs in the books and how it is a bit outrageous.  I have also heard that the series is considered to be odd.  This made me curious.  Probably once every few years, I thought about the series and briefly considered trying to acquire them.  I never followed through.

The books are quite hard to find in the original A. L. Burt editions, which have good quality paper.  The books are readily available in the World Publishing Company edition, but those books have poor quality paper that has turned brown.  I dislike purchasing books with pulp paper and avoid them whenever possible.  My interest in acquiring the Nancy Pembroke books has never been strong enough for me to want to purchase the books with pulp paper.

The series is in the public domain.  Five of the seven books are on Google Books, but I will never read them.  I do fine with reading modern young adult books through the Kindle app on my iPad, but that is a completely different situation.  I find that with old books, I will never get around to reading any of them in a digital format.  I know that they are available and waiting, but there are thousands of digital books out there.  Those books aren't going away, and I feel no urgency in getting around to any of them.  On the other hand, when I actually see the old books in a bookcase near me taking up shelf space, I am motivated to try them.  I must get around to reading them so that I can decide whether to keep them.

For those reasons, I never did get around to acquiring or trying the Nancy Pembroke series.  Recently, I was checking eBay, which I do far more often than I will admit.  I saw a set of six Nancy Pembroke A. L. Burt books with dust jackets that had just been listed.  The lot had a Buy It Now of $49.95 with free shipping.  I couldn't go wrong at that price, even if I ended up not liking the books.  A. L. Burt series books with dust jackets are typically very hard to find.  I purchased the lot, which ended up costing $54.50 with the added sales tax.

I then looked around for the seventh book in an A. L. Burt edition and found exactly one copy available.  Score!  In just a few minutes, I had secured the entire set of Nancy Pembroke books in the A. L. Burt edition with good quality paper.  I was finally going to be able to read the set!

Reviews will follow.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Dana Girls #4 A Three-Cornered Mystery

In Dana Girls #4, A Three-Cornered Mystery, Jean and Louise are invited to spend the weekend with Edith Darrow, their new friend.  The girls chance to find some papers hidden in the barn, and the papers belong to Ed Carillo, a man wanted for stealing from his employer.  Jean and Louise spend the night in the barn hoping that Carillo will show up to claim the papers.

While the Danas are in the barn, an injured man shows up, and the Darrows disappear!  Jean and Louise wonder what happened to Edith as they try to follow Carillo's track.

The book is titled A Three-Cornered Mystery because of three locations with "corner" in the name.  Two towns are named Rocky Corner and Spring Corner, and the culprit is found to be staying at the Three Corners Apartments.

The Danas drive to New York City.  They leave their home in Oak Falls in the morning and reach a city 100 miles from New York City in the afternoon of the same day.  On page 161, "They were swept up in the stream of New Jersey traffic, crossed the Hudson River, and finally found themselves in the roar and bustle of Manhattan."  The Danas live fairly close to New York City and are to the west or south of the city.  I like the idea of the Danas living in Virginia.

This is an excellent book.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

2019 Nancy Drew Coloring Book by Mika Ingerman

Nancy Drew fan Mika Ingerman has created a coloring book based on classic Nancy Drew illustrations.  This coloring book was published under the licensing agreement between Simon and Schuster and the Nancy Drew Sleuths. 

The coloring book is softcover with a spiral binding. 

Since the coloring book is being printed through limited print runs, it has to be preordered.  The first printing shipped out recently, and those of us who preordered the first printing received the coloring book in the last few days or will soon receive it.  The second printing will be ready in the middle of September.  Fans are often reluctant to preorder items like this, but that is the only way items like this can be made available. 

The coloring book can be ordered via the Sleuth Shop at the Nancy Drew Sleuths website.

I wrote this post so that those of you who are not on Facebook or are not in the Facebook groups know about the existence of this new coloring book.  Please note that the Sleuth Shop is run by Jennifer Fisher of the Nancy Drew Sleuths and that she and I are not the same person.  My name is Jennifer White.  If you need more information about the coloring book, contact Jennifer Fisher through her website.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Dana Girls #3 In the Shadow of the Tower

In Dana Girls #3, In the Shadow of the Tower, Jean and Louise try to help Josy Sikes, an orphaned hunchback who has lost a $1000 bill.  Josy's money is found by a hunter, who unintentionally makes Josy feel bad because of her deformity.  Josy and the hunter both run away in separate incidents.  The Dana Girls try to find both missing people.

This story is a mess, but I like it.  The first two books in the series read very much like early Nancy Drew books.  This book reads more like the typical crazy Kay Tracey book.

The idea of a young girl carrying around a $1000 bill is absurd.  Even for today, carrying around a $1000 bill sounds stupid.  Consider that the $1000 bill would now be worth $19,000, which is a ridiculous amount of money for a young girl to be carrying around.

This story is full of racial stereotypes that come across as too stupid to be believed by the modern reader.  I read these things and am appalled that people who were not white were actually portrayed in such a horrible fashion.  All of the colored people roll their eyes and are scared to death over practically nothing.  They see Josy with her hunchback and actually think she is a monster.  The hunchback could not have been that bad.  It is ridiculous and hard to believe.

Despite the craziness of the story, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  This is an excellent book.