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.

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