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.