Written by: Harriet Adams (1975)

Nancy’s friends have a surprise for her. They are all going to the Nevada desert to take part in an archaeological dig. The area is also believed to have hidden gold nearby and Nancy endeavors to find it.

This wouldn’t be a Nancy Drew story if another mystery didn’t fall into Nancy’s lap. A Native American woman has 6 ancient tablets that wind up being stolen. She was initially hoping Nancy would help her decipher the petroglyphs. Now, Nancy has to find the thief first.

A few books back, I made the observation that Nancy messed up a dig. Which is true. She dug up old tribal grounds to solve a mystery. And she went about it completely wrong. But this book addressed the issues I had then. This dig is sponsored by a university, so all of the students are taught the proper way to proceed. Hallelujah! Way to right a wrong. 

Speaking of wrongs, there were a number in this story. The biggest one being when at one point Nancy finds a human bone. The crew takes turns unearthing it, string the uncovered skeleton and then proceed to play and joke around with it. Sigh. Do you know how disrespectful that is? What they did is despicable and shows a lack of consideration towards the tribe. No respectable archeaologist would ever allow this to happen. Because it’s wrong on so many levels. 

Anyway, the story is fairly entertaining. Nancy and Ned kiss. A lot. Well, a lot for one of these stories. Nancy and crew find gold and an underwater river in the desert. Oh, and all of a sudden Nancy knows spanish? And, can differentiate between various dialects. Yeah, okay Jan.
Look, I know these are kids books so I shouldn’t take them too seriously. But honestly, I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving this specific book to my 8 year old niece. We’re teaching her to be respectful. And this book doesn’t send that message. Blegh. 

There were parts I really did like about this book. But I simply couldn’t get past all of the problematic aspects. Which is just too bad. It had the markings of a favorite. 

6 thoughts on “Nancy Drew (#52): The Secret of the Forgotten City by Carolyn Keene

  1. I was saying yaaaaaaaaay in my head but my hopes were dashed after a second of joy. Wow, I’m guessing they’re going to address this in a few books down the line like they did with the previous conduct in this one. I was about to be happy that Ned and Nancy we’re finally getting together. And you are totally right in not wanting to gift it to someone young, I think some people say that children aren’t just going to learn something from a book like they don’t become violent after playing violent video games, but in a book like this where Nancy Drew is such a key literary figure, she has more power to influence than people would think.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. This is why honest reviews are so important! It would be a mighty task for a librarian to know all of this, but I hope schools and libraries do let young kids know. If in the next few books it is still not resolved, it might be worth considering sending a letter to the publisher & asking them to put clarifications in somewhere.. I know they have the ability to do this with reprints!

        Liked by 1 person

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