Written by: Harriet Adams (1976)

Nancy, Bess and George are vacationing on a ranch in the midwest. While Bess and George aim to improve their horseback riding, Nancy is attending a nearby flight school. During one of her lessons, she and her instructor encounter a mysterious plane. When they investigate, they discover the plane belongs to a pilot that has been missing for some time. Of course, Nancy quickly begins to hunt for clues.

This was a strange one. It was oddly political. In the sense that revolutionaries are planning some kind of attack. What kind of revolutionaries? I have absolutely zero clue. All I know, Nancy and Ned uncovered a cache of bombs and guns. I’m honestly scratching my head over this mystery. 

Anyway, there were two moments that made my jaw drop to the floor. The first being super depressing. One of the criminals shoots a pony in the leg. The ranch manager gives a eulogy for the pony, before putting it out of its misery. Bess was too overcome and walked away mid-eulogy. But Nancy and George, with tears streaming down their faces, watched the horse die. One of the most depressing things to happen in a Nancy Drew story. 

The second moment was much more drama-filled. Bess became close to Chuck, one of the ranchers. When Ned, Burt and Dave call to tell the girls they’re planning to visit them soon, Bess panics. When George teases her, Bess inadvertently tells her and Nancy that Chuck has proposed to her (!) and wants her to stay on the ranch with him!! 😮 Well, color me shocked! Many books ago, Bess accidentally told Nancy that she doesn’t plan to marry Dave until after he graduates from Emerson. Now, she’s over here contemplating playing cowgirl to some cowboy for as long as they both shall live. The boys arrive and it’s all pretty tense. But Bess manages to get her feelings sorted out and hooray for Dave. The poor sap will never know how Bess did him dirty. 

So… this book. To be honest, I was more invested in Bess’s love life than the mystery. A missing persons case becomes a weird political plot and the mastermind behind it all doesn’t appear until he’s captured. I have no idea who the guy was. He really only popped up for 2 seconds. Dude who are you?? 

These books are getting to be way too much. What sucks is that there are only 3 books left in the original series…

14 thoughts on “Nancy Drew (#53): The Sky Phantom by Carolyn Keene

  1. Damn, it’s not the best when the romance and drama side of things are more interesting than the mystery… in a mystery book. But I have to be honest, that drama sounds straight up delicious. I don’t think Bess is ready to get married yet, she wants some more romantic adventures lol. The authors must learn to stay out of politics…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lmao I was so here for the drama! Bess getting caught up in a love triangle was not something I expected. And the political stuff confused me. Because it was political without being political. I don’t understand what it was all about. All the book said was that they were revolutionaries. But what kind of revolutionaries? What were they fighting for?? Then again, this is a kid’s book. So the fact that they had a cache of weapons makes them the bad guy. And considering some of the stunts they pulled, I’m actually okay with that. Still though. Grown up me would like some answers haha

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      1. Yeah, but even if it’s a kids book you can still make clear implications as to the aims of the revolutionaries… the Lorax managed to convey the importance of speaking up and, especially, voting and it didn’t make any reference at all. I think it would be a great thing to reference the political climate even in a children’s book, because why not? Speaking of which, how amazing would it be to read a political book for kids? Are there any already? Ah, the possibilities!

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      2. I know there are feminist children’s stories. Women in history who have made an impact in our lives. (I know because my niece has it). But other than that? Idk. Hm… I’m sure there are…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. She Persisted Around the World by Chelsea Clinton. I was surprised when I saw it in my niece’s bookshelf. This is the kid version. It has illustrations in it and everything. I know Chelsea Clinton published an adult version as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I know what I’m getting for the little one birthday, I can feel that she is a young feminist in the making, so she will love it. I can’t seem to find the adult one, so I’ll have to do some searching up on google soon.

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