Yep. You read that right. Quadruple. These 4 books are not a part of the original Nancy Drew series. But I do own them, and it’s actually interesting to compare them to the original 56. Also, this was originally supposed to be a triple dose but I ended up buying a new Nancy Drew book. D’oh! So much for my book buying ban lmao.

The Secret in the Old Lace (#59)

Written by: Nancy Axelrad (1980)

Nancy is writing a mystery story for a magazine writing contest. The prompt provided by the magazine is based on a Belgian couple’s missing fortune. Coincidentally, a family friend of Bess’s invites the girls to her new home in Belgium. Madame Chambray needs Nancy’s assistance in tracking down the rightful owner of a piece of valuable jewelry she discovered in her home.

So, this is the book that broke my self-imposed book buying ban. Ha! Do I have regrets? Bahahaha nope. Although admittedly, this story was low-key awful.

Some guy steals Nancy’s manuscript. Then she’s accused of plagiarism. But she, Bess and George continue on their trip to Belgium while Mr. Drew works to clear his daughter’s name. While staying with Madame Chambray, they learn of another mystery involving the new home. somewhere on the grounds, there is a hidden treasure. Long story short: Nancy solves a century old mystery. 

What made this story awful? For starters, Nancy was quite rude. I counted at least 5 times in which she interrupted someone that was speaking to her. Let others speak, Nancy! Sheesh. It rubbed me the wrong way. One of my personal pet peeves. And the number of times Ned’s usefulness as protector was mentioned! My goodness! He didn’t even help her out in this case!!!! Ugh!! But it was always if we need help we’ll call Ned to protect us. Or Nancy stating that she couldn’t stop a culprit herself because she needed a guy to do it. What?!?! My intrepid little sleuth would never say such things. Never would she hesitate in trying to stop a bad guy. Never!

Next book, please!

Captive Witness (Nancy Drew #64)

Written by: Richard Ballard (1981)

Nancy, Bess and George are traveling with Ned, Burt and Dave and a group of other students through an Emerson College-sponsored European trip. While on the trip, Nancy is asked by her father to help find a documentary titled Captive Witness, that has disappeared. The film sheds light on the human rights crisis occurring behind the curtain. So it’s important that Nancy find it before it’s destroyed. 

Another political Nancy Drew story. But this one was better done. It touches upon life “behind the curtain”. Traveling with the group, Nancy is let in on a secret by the professor who organized the trip, Professor Bagley. He works for the U.S. Government as a spy! He and another student, are on a mission to reunite children from an iron curtain country with their parents who managed to escape to freedom. But there are forces working against them to stop it from happening. Which is why Nancy’s help is needed. 

Phew! What a book! I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t vague about the political situation at the time. It took a stance and held it. Wonderful! The ending was a bit lacking though. Yes, it has a happily ever after like usual, but the denouement. I found it anticlimactic. 

One difference between this book and the original 56? The artwork!

This illustration is from Nancy Drew #1:

This illustration is from this book, #64:

See the difference? I must say, the artwork in this book is waaay better. 
By the way, I think this may be the last yellow-spined Nancy Drew book…

Now, on to the next case!

Enemy Match (Nancy Drew #73)

Written by: James Duncan Lawrence (1984)

Nancy receives a phone call from an old friend, Nina Ford, asking for her help. Her father was accused of a crime and while on a police transport, the vehicle was swept away by a river and his body was never found. Nina hopes that her father is somehow still alive and wants Nancy to try to find him. 

Loved, loved, loved this mystery. George is on vacation in California, so doesn’t appear in this book. Bess occasionally pops up, but she is busy with a River Heights committee. And Ned? No clue! He’s not even mentioned!! But Nancy is not alone on this mystery.

Nancy takes on an assistant. 14 year old Midge, is a Nancy Drew fan. And when she and her father fall on hard times, she hopes to bring in a bit of cash by working for Nancy. Nancy is hesitant at first, but quickly relents when she takes stock of the situation. 

The mystery takes the two girls to nearby Brighton, where Nina lives. She has been receiving threatening phone calls, urging her to lose her tennis matches. But Nina is a championship hopeful and refuses to give in to the threats. Nancy and Midge work to discover where the threats are coming from and are actively searching for clues that may exonerate her father of the crime he was accused of if he should be found alive.

Midge is a great character. She’s tough, smart, and resourceful. With Nancy as her teacher, she is learning how to be a great detective. And actually manages to get Nancy out of some dangerous situations. No Bess and George, but we get Midge instead. Not a bad replacement character.

The mystery itself was okay. It was fairly obvious from the beginning who the culprit was. But watching the story unfold was still entertaining. One thing I really liked? No one made fun of Bess and her eating habits!! I am shocked. Shocked! Ever since Bess first appeared as a character, her weight and eating habits have always been remarked upon. Always. It was annoying. Let her eat in peace. Jeez. Not this book though! Her figure was not mentioned. The fact that she loves dessert was not mentioned. Ah. Refreshing! 

And the illustartions in this book?

Now, let’s move on to the next book…

The Crime Lab Case (Nancy Drew #165)

Written by: Unknown (2002)

Nancy, Bess and George have volunteered to be counselors for a high school crime lab camp, created by the renowned scientist, Professor Parris. But when Professor Parris is poisoned, it is up to Nancy and her friends to solve the real life mystery.

This is a reread for me. I’ve owned this book for years but hadn’t read it in so long. One difference I noticed right away between this book and the others? The chapters. Every Nancy Drew book is 20 chapters long. Not this one. This one only has 15 chapters. And no artwork! There aren’t any pictures in this book. I kind of missed them.

The mystery itself is actually a lot less convoluted than usual. Hooray! The backdrop was a nice touch. While the high school students are working to solve a fictional case, Nancy is hard at work trying to figure out who poisoned Professor Parris and why. 

Speaking of the fictional case. I realized that the case the kids are working on isn’t solved. The kids are broken up in groups and each group is given clues. In the end, each group had a different suspect. So who committed the crime?? It wasn’t resolved! 

One additional note. Ned is finally, finally referred to as Nancy’s boyfriend! Only took 165 books to get there haha. And there are no illustrations…

Overall Thoughts

These aren’t too terrible.Okay, #59 was but let’s forget about that one haha. After the letdown I had with the last few of the original 56, these were a big improvement. Some elements are obviously different. Especially in the last one, #165. The modernity is felt through the whole book. Bess’s weight is no longer discussed. Instead, she is a research queen. She uses the internet to help Nancy gather information. George, is still George. Ned, is now officially the boyfriend. And Nancy? Nancy remains our quick-thinking, amateur detective.

Hm. I really liked these mysteries. (I said ignore #59, remember?) 😉

Next week? A triple dose! Unless I buy more Nancy Drew books between now and next week… 

10 thoughts on “A Quadruple Dose of Nancy Drew

  1. hehe shame the story was lowkey awful for the secret of old lace. Captive witness sounds much better- even if it was anti-climactic. And enemy match sounds entertaining. That’s especially good about not mentioning Bess’ eating habits! hehehe sounds like it took Nancy long enough to make it official with George 😉 Great reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It might be because it’s #195 that there’s no longer any fat-shaming which is good!

    Captive Witness sounds amazing. I have to disagree on the artwork, I quite like the first versions!

    *tries not to feel attacked about interrupting others* *inhales* *exhales: sometimespeoplemighthaveamildformofADDandthey’rejustsoexcitedthatheycan’thelpitandthey’rethinkingtoofasttoslowdowntheirspeech* learning though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think once the books hit the more modern age, they got rid of all the problematic stuff. Which is really great.

      Hm. They’re too simple for my liking. Although I did appreciate that they had captions lol.

      I understand that. I work with kids with ADHD. But Nancy was never like that before. Now she’s conversing with someone and while the other person speaks, she interrupts them. Always. Never giving the person a chance to voice their opinion. It happened with so many people at different points throughout the book. IDK. It was ingrained in me since babyhood to not interrupt an adult when they’re speaking. And here Nancy is doing something so out of the norm for her. She always listened to other’s insights. Not simply dismissed them. Because that’s what she was doing. Interrupting and dismissing what the other person said. So weird.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, that seems to be the case. I’m thinking a lot of childhood faves would be written a lot differently if they were written now.

        Paha, that’s why I like it, it’s simple and the captions help.

        Hmm, that makes a lot of sense. If a character hasn’t behaved like that before, especially Nancy, then there’s a continuity error in this one, no? It seems out of character for Nancy to do then, it would probably be chalked down to Nancy being written by a different author. I wonder if the author noticed later on that this is significantly different to how Nancy would ordinarily behave? I understand about being taught not to interrupt elders, I wonder if it’s a POC thing? Personally, I usually wouldn’t mind if someone’s interrupted me so long as it’s not intentionally done to dismiss what I’ve said and it is clear that they are actually addressing what I’ve said because it shows that they’ve actually been listening.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah, I think whoever wrote this story didn’t get Nancy’s character. Harriet Adams, one of the women who created Nancy, would not approve of this take on Nancy.

        Lmao I do think it is a POC thing. Because in my culture we’re taught to speak to our parents formally as a sign of respect. We never ever interrupt anyone older than us. It’s super rude and omigosh I can hear my mom lecturing me rn lol. It’s ingrained in my memory. So now it’s become one of my pet peeves. Obviously it depends on the situation. If I’m telling you a story and you interrupt and start talking about what you did last week. That’s hella rude. And that’s kind of what Nancy did to the chief of police. Not exactly, but similar situation. But if you interrupt me to tell me my car is on fire? Then you’re my new bff lol

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I was thinking, it would be strange to not be able to ever interrupt an elder, but in the context of them telling a story, it would be super rude… I do think that’s basic good manners everyone should have, however, I do think if you interrupt to ask a question that would be okay as long as it’s about the story itself or to clear up confusion otherwise you’re listening to a story you won’t be able to understand or pretending to understand. But interrupting to talk about yourself… eesh, what you doing Lol, who raised ya.

        Liked by 1 person

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