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.


Matte Blk, Catalyst4Christ said...

I kinda, sorta loved'm,
growing-up in a totally
dysfunctional household.
Que cera cera.
Who knew I'd
become this blessed?

Birgitta said...

I just read the Swedish version of this book and am happy to tell you that the racial thing with the chauffeur is removed from it. Everybody gets to sleep in the house and they all wake up to a bright new morning.