By the Light of the Study Lamp (The Dana Girls Mystery Stories #1) by Carolyn Keene

Jean and Louise Dana investigate the disappearance of their antique lamp.

Written by: Leslie McFarlane (1934)

Another Stratemeyer Syndicate publication written under the Carolyn Keene pseudonym. This book was written by the ghostwriter of The Hardy Boys series. 

Jean and Louise are due back at their school for the beginning of their sophomore year. As a surprise, their uncle Ned Dana, buys the girls a lamp that is then quickly stolen. The girls manage to track down the would-be thief but without evidence are forced to concede he may not be the criminal they’re looking for. Back at school, the girls encounter Lettie Briggs. A spoiled, rich girl that has it out for the Dana sisters. On top of that, the girls are also trying to help their friend, Evelyn Starr search for her missing brother. 

Phew! A lot going on. The Dana girls are a force to be reckoned with. They’re impetuous. Act now, think later type of girls. And I was completely okay with that. At times, their behavior bordered on insolence. But honestly, after reading so many Nancy Drew’s, it was a breath of fresh air to see two girls act this way. These girls give zero cares. Zero. All they want, is to catch the criminals and help their friend. 

This book is also set at an all-girls boarding school. So the girls have to work around the school rules to accomplish their detective endeavors. And they have to deal with the aforementioned, Lettie Briggs. This girl. She’s snooty and eager to get the Dana girls in trouble. Never works out for her. The Dana girls always get her back though. Always. 

Did I enjoy this book? Surprisingly, yes. Like in Nancy Drew, the Dana girls have a suspect early on. It’s all about gathering evidence against them.There were a few times where I had to suspend belief because some of the action in the book was over the top. I figured out the ending early on, too. But it was an entertaining read 🙂

The Girl Scouts at Singing Sands (Girl Scouts series #2) by Mildred A. Wirt

I did say I wasn’t done with Mildred and the Stratemeyer Syndicate haha. 

That’s my Brownie sash and Girl Scout badges haha

This book isn’t a part of the Syndicate. It was written by Mildred herself. While ghostwriting the Nancy Drew series, she also worked on her own books. I was lucky enough to find this one on one of my Goodwill runs. I recognized her name and immediately decided to buy it. Good thing I did, because my library does not have any of her books! And a quick Goodreads search tells me there are only 6 ratings (including my own) and 1 review (mine). 

Now, let’s talk about the story. The book revolves around Judy and her troop of Girl Scouts (Beaver Patrol). They are 8th grade girls (13? 14?) spending time at Pine Cone Camp with other scout troops. Judy’s aunt telegrams her, informing her she wishes to spend a small vacation in the area and asks Judy to find her somewhere to stay. But it’s summer, and everything nearby is booked. Well, everything except for a small, mysterious cottage. 

Whilst reading, I kept comparing this book to Nancy. I couldn’t help it! These books are actually different though. Sure, Judy is fearless and quite an intrepid sleuth. But the tone of the story isn’t like a Nancy Drew mystery. Judy and her friends are simply going on with their lives when they become curious by certain events occurring around them. 

I really liked this book. One thing I particularly enjoyed was the fact that they were girl scouts. Their various camp activities were touched upon. It allowed me to get a better sense of the various girls. (Judy’s troop is made up of 7). And the the book itself is really educational. The skills the troop learns are actually used. For example, we see the troop administer first aid when they witness a car accident, and bring up fire safety when making a campfire. As a Californian, I really appreciated that. Not to mention there are discussions about caves, stalagtites and stalagmites. All very interesting. 

There was one instance where the language used in the book made me cringe. Look, I get it. This is an old book. So I’ll forgive it. I guess. I am kind of glad it wasn’t any of the girl scouts that said it though. As a former Girl Scout, you know I would have gone on a rant. 

So. A great little book. Not like a Nancy Drew story. But if anything, her aura is still felt. In the way Judy carries herself. And how both have to prove themselves to be taken seriously by others. 

I really wish I had access to more of these books :/ 

Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak

Whoa! So my mind was a teensy bit blown as I soaked up all the history regarding Nancy Drew’s creation. 

Nancy Drew was one of the last creations by Edward Stratemeyer, the head of the Stratemeyer Syndicate. He mass-produced hundreds of ghost-written children’s books based on his story outlines and all written under pseudonyms. Phew! If it sounds like a lot. Well, that’s because it is.

Stratemeyer was a popular children’s author in his own right. But he quickly realized that he couldn’t possibly pen all the stories he wanted. So he hired ghostwriters to churn them out. He outlined and edited them, then published them under various pen names. Thus, the syndicate was born and became a lucrative business. At the time of his death, Stratemeyer had outlined the first few Nancy Drew stories and had hired Mildred Augustine to write them. He never saw what a success this book series would be. 

Mildred Augustine wrote the early Nancy Drew stories. But because of her contract, she was not allowed to disclose this. When Stratemeyer died, his daughters Harriet and Edna took over the business. So at the height of the Depression, Nancy Drew was being molded and shaped by women. And prospering. 

Mildred and Harriet were modern day working women. And their ideas of Nancy clashed. When Mildred stopped working for the syndicate, Harriet herself took over the Nancy Drew stories. So there are 2 versions of Nancy. Mildred’s Nancy is adventerous, outspoken and a bit brash. Harriet’s Nancy is prim, posed, and well-mannered. Years later when the stories were revised, Harriet’s Nancy wins out. Funny enough, it’s Harriet’s stories that I rather enjoyed. 

Speaking of the revisions. The reason the stories were revised: racism. Something I discussed while reviewing the books was how inherently racist some of the stories were. I was both excited and nervous when Nancy traveled abroad. Apparently I’m not the only one that felt that way! As early as 1948, concerned parents were writing to the publishers. Because Nancy Drew books are great and all, but they have no clue how to deal with POC. So the publisher and Harriet agreed to revise the previously published stories. Except Harriet had, ahem, “old world” values. (My polite way of saying she was low-key racist). So her solution was to wipe out any POC from the books. But the books I read were still problematic so… um, yeah. Way to go with the revisions ya’ll! 

Anyway, this was a nice crash course reading on Nancy Drew. I enjoyed the stories Harriet wrote so finding out what kind of person she was made me really question myself haha. There was also a lot of drama behind the scenes. Harriet and Mildred butting heads. Harriet and her sister, Edna, also going at it. Each woman, so different from one another, managed to somehow create a literary heroine for the ages.

Nancy Drew Collection by Carolyn Keene

This collection has 3 Nancy Drew mysteries in one book. I’ve had it for years. I can’t remember how it came to be in my possession though. And I can’t remember the stories inside. So, this should be fun. Also, this is it! After I finish this collection I am done with my Year of Nancy Drew…

The Bike Tour Mystery (#168)
Nancy, Bess and George are part of a group taking a bike tour of Ireland. While on their trip, Nancy becomes suspicious of all the mishaps occurring that seem to be directed at two sisters. Although the sister’s rebuff Nancy’s help, this doesn’t stop the young sleuth from investigating. 

So this was a fun story. The girls are biking through Ireland. It sounds like a dream. Minus the biking part haha. Anyway, Nancy is supposed to be on vacation but her detective instincts don’t take a day off. Right away, she spots a strange man following the tour group. And when “accidents” start to happen, she knows something more sinister is afoot.

Once again, Bess’s research skills are needed. Does Nancy not know how to use the internet herself? I’m confused. You’d think it would be an invaluable tool for a detective. Oh, and Bess’s boy-crazy self appears again! She is smitten by one of their fellow bikers. Actually, all 3 girls find him handsome. But like Bess wisely says, 

He may be totally hot-looking, but who’d want a boyfriend who flirts with other girls?

Amen, sister-friend. 

Okay, I liked this mystery. Someone doesn’t want Nancy’s help, but she helps them anyways. She even winds up saving their lives.

Now, onto the next case!

The Riding Club Crime (#172)
Nancy is asked by Mrs. Rogers to help get to the bottom of mysterious accidents happening at her horse-riding camp for teens. 

Nancy and George go undercover as counselors to be closer to the action. Meanwhile, Bess has gotten a job writing about equestrian fashion. Apparently that’s a thing. 

I enjoyed this mystery as well. For one thing, the man Nancy suspected is not actually the criminal. Actually, she jumped from one suspect to another. Something that doesn’t happen very often. Once Nancy has a suspect, that’s it, that’s the guilty party. Not this time though. The criminals weren’t really on Nancy’s radar until the very end. 

One thing that I found completely ridiculous? Nancy’s first suspect was a camper. While looking through the girl’s belongings for clues, Nancy stumbles across the girl’s diary. As she flipped through it, Nancy realizes it’s in code and finds it suspicious. Um… what?! Nancy. Don’t be dense!! It’s in code so people won’t be able to read her private thoughts. Which is pretty much what the girl says when confronted. And she calls Nancy a snoop. In this case, I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment. 

Like I said, I found the mystery interesting. I was honestly surprised by the turn of events. Although, there wasn’t a lot of Bess in this story. And where are the boys???

Well, on to the final case!

Werewolf in a Winter Wonderland (#175)
Nancy, Bess, George and Ned (!), are volunteering at River Heights’ annual Winter Wonderland. It is there that Nancy runs into an old friend, Brianda. Brianda’s cousin, Markie, works at a wolf conservation center. When 2 of the center’s Alpha’s go missing, Nancy must find them before the center is forced to close. 

Another good mystery. As Nancy investigates the disappearance of the wolves, there are also werewolf sightings and dangerous accidents occurring at the Winter Wonderland. Are the cases related? And if so, in what way?

So Ned is in this one!! Whoo!! Yes! Now, that’s a good note to end on haha. Although I must admit, his character isn’t really necessary. I know. It hurt as I wrote that. But it’s true. In the OG 56 he is always by Nancy, rescuing her or vixe versa. But in these latter ones, he’s just there. Superfluous. And they changed him!!! He’s looking more like a Ken doll, with his blond hair and green eyes. Ugh. Ned has always been brown-haired, and brown-eyed!!

Anyway. This case is like the one before. Once again, the first person to be suspected isn’t actually the bad guy. These stories seem to be a bit more mysterious than the original. It actually keeps you guessing a bit.

Final Thoughts
That’s it. I am officially done! This is my last Nancy Drew Mystery Story. Holy crap. I can’t believe it. I’ll do a wrap-up of… all of this sometime next week. My goodness. 9-year old me would be so proud haha. 

A Quadruple Dose of Nancy Drew

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… 

A Double Dose of Nancy Drew #7

Today I bring you a double dose! (Apparently I lied when I said there wouldn’t be anymore of these haha). Because yes, I was able to get my hands on the elusive Nancy Drew #54!! Whoo! 😀

Well, let’s get to it!

The Strange Message in the Parchment (#54)  

Written by: Harriet Adams (1977)

Aha! Finally!!! I had to go to yet another library branch to check this book out. That’s 3 different libraries I had to visit to find this book. But am I complaining? Nope. It’s been a bit of an adventure. Mystery of the Missing Nancy Drew book 😉

Anyway, this book is somewhat entertaining. Nancy is asked by her childhood friend, Junie Flockhart, to help her family uncover the secret behind a strange parchment. Simple enough. 

The parchment itself was purchased by the Flockhart family from their best client, Mr. Rocco. When Nancy asks him if he knows of any story behind the parchment, he gets very suspicious. But Nancy digs deeper and deeper. Ultimately, she reunites a mother with her kidnapped son.
Nancy stays with Junie on the family farm. They mainly raise sheep and when Junie gives Nancy a tour, she shows her the slaughterhouse. Depressing! Because then when Bess, George and the boys visit, they go to the slaughterhouse again. *shudders*

One of the things that got on my nerves about this book was all the morals. And I’m not talking about all the quotes from scripture. That I was actually okay with. I’m always fascinated by how people translate its meaning. What I’m talking about are the values/virtues that are imparted upon the reader. Every Nancy Drew book has them and they’ve never bothered me before. But boy, in this book they seemed to pop up at every page! Maybe it’s the fact that I felt personally attacked haha. (Cows are my favorite animal. But I also love cheese burgers). I don’t need judgment from a Nancy Drew book for my omnivorous ways, thank you very much.

So, was this book worth the wait? Eh. Not really. It wasn’t mindblowing. Just simply okay. 

On to the next one!

The Thirteenth Pearl (Nancy Drew #56)

Written by: Harriet Adams (1979)

Nancy has to find a missing pearl necklace for Mr. Moto. The necklace was on loan by the wealthy Mrs. Rossmeyer, and Mr. Moto worries that his business reputation will be ruined. All clues point to Japan, so Nancy and her father follow the trail there. 

This was an interesting mystery. Weird, but interesting. In a complete turn of events, Nancy travels with Mr. Carson Campbell Drew instead of Bess and/or George. They weren’t even invited! Strange. But! Nancy did leave them with a sleuthing job. So there’s that haha.

So the weirdness? A pearl worshipping cult. They weren’t the main culprit but they were sort of involved. Nancy and Ned witness a ritual or something. They’re baffled. I was baffled. To each his own, I guess.

I did learn about oysters and pearls though! I didn’t know it was possible to get oysters to make the pearls by inserting some kind of nucleus into them. Sad, but fascinating. Are pearl farms still a thing? It sounds like something that would continue to exist nowadays.

So not a shabby mystery. Thank goodness for that. Not a terrible way to end the original series 🙂

Final Thoughts
Phew! I am DONE!!!! Finito!!! I’ve officially read all 56 of the original Nancy Drew Mystery Stories!!! 😀 😀 😀 But, I’m not quite done with my Year of Nancy Drew. There are still a couple of weeks left to go and I have a few Nancy Drew books left to read. It will be nice to compare the originals to the ones that came after. So, next week be prepared for a Triple Dose of Nancy! 😉

Nancy Drew (#55): Mystery of Crocodile Island by Carolyn Keene

So… today’s review was supposed to be a double dose. Yeah, that obviously didn’t happen. When I went to the library to check out the book, it was gone. Went to another branch, overdue. Didn’t have time to continue hunting the book down so skipped ahead to the next one. This one. This time I was smart enough to put a hold on the book at the library. Fingers crossed it comes through by next week!

Written by: Harriet Adams (1978)

Mr. Gonzales suspects his business partners of shady dealings regarding their joint Crocodile Ecology Company so he asks his old college friend, Mr. Drew, to investigate. Naturally, Nancy is asked to help. So she and Bess and George fly out to Florida to investigate.

Early on in their adventure, the 3 girls are kidnapped. But resourceful as ever, they manage to escape. They decide to use aliases as they investigate, to thwart anymore problems that may arise from their sleuthing. With the help of their hosts’ teenage son, the girls quickly uncover many important clues. 

This was an okay mystery. The whole time you know something illegal is going on at the crocodile island but you’re not exactly sure what. It did actually keep me guessing for a while. And bonus points when the boys show up and don’t rescue one of the girls. 

The thing about these books though, is the lack of continuity. It’s something I think I’ve talked about before. And will mention once again here. In this book, Nancy states that she’s never been to the Florida Keys before. But. She has. In The Clue of the Black Keys. I remember because I really enjoyed that book. A minor detail. Still, though. Because uncharacteristically, this book makes reference to another Nancy Drew book. It mentions something that happened in that book. So we can recall the events that happened in book #15 but not in book #28? Okaaay…

Another thing is George’s name. Books and books ago, George states that her parents initially thought they were having a boy. Then they had her, a girl. And her parents decided to keep the name they had originally chosen: George. So she’s always had a traditional boy name. Now, in this book, that story is being altered. 

Georgia was her cousin’s real name, but she would never allow anyone to call her by it. 

No! No, no, no!! I remember very distinctly George saying her parents named her George. She never once said it was altered. And I remember one instance where her parents’ choice of name was criticized by someone. So why try to change her name now?? What’s the point?

Anyway, the book was alright. Not a favorite but definitely an improvement from the last few books, I guess.

Next week? Hopefully a double dose!

Nancy Drew (#53): The Sky Phantom by Carolyn Keene

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…

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

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. 

Nancy Drew (#51): Mystery of the Glowing Eye by Carolyn Keene

Written by: Harriet Adams (1974)

When Nancy discovers that Ned has been kidnapped, she takes it upon herself to try to find him.

I absolutely loathed this book. It starts off with Nancy being jealous of Marty King, a young, new lawyer working for her father. Nancy is upset that Marty King is taking over a mystery her father had initially mentioned to her. Then it kind of spirals out into the science fiction realm.

A self-piloted helicopter lands on Nancy’s front lawn. In the cockpit, she finds a note scrawled by Ned, warning her against Cyclops. Nobody knows whose helicopter it is or why it landed there. But Burt and Dave quickly inform Nancy that Ned has been missing for a couple of days. 

Nancy, Bess and George drive to Emerson College where they discover that another student is also missing. A grad student working in the same lab as Ned. As the case unfolds, Nancy fears that Ned has been kidnapped by the grad student and ties the case to a mysterious glowing eye that appears in a museum. 

Ned is MIA for 99% of the book. Dropping breadcrumbs for Nancy and friends. But they seem to be a step behind each time they get close to finding him. Then the glowing eye plotline is introduced. Okay, I have no idea how that glowing eye worked or what the point of it was. It made zero sense. And I still don’t know if the museum’s receptionist was involved or not? She takes herself out of the narrative; whereabouts unknown. 

And then the ending. Good Lord. So after everything that Nancy does to find Ned, he rescues himself. Then acts like nothing really happened. He was gone for days. Days! With some lunatic pointing a gun at him and trying to steal his invention. Oh yeah, Ned invented something. What, you ask? To quote Ned, 

“My invention is a new way for a scientist to produce laser light so that even a small source of energy will do great feats. It’s done by converting all of the energy into light.”

Boy, I have no clue what you just said. 

Oh, and if you’re wondering about Marty King, well I’m pretty sure she’s never appearing again. You see, Mr. Drew asked her to resign. Apparently she proposed to him and admitted to being jealous of Nancy and her sleuthing adventures. Ha! Yes. It was a mutual jealousy-fest. 

Ugh. This book was a mess. I’m done. The 70’s were obviously not good to Nancy. I won’t even get into how hideous the cover is. I am so done.