Friday, July 2, 2010

Nancy Drew Update

As TCH readers will recall, Professor Dennis Allen and I are co-presidents of the Nancy Drew Fan Club, and we’re pretty much solving mysteries every day. Or, getting ready to. Right now, for instance, I’m re-reading The Hidden Window Mystery (#34, in case you want to fetch your copy), and Dennis and I are discussing the important skills we’ll need to hone if we’re ever going to be as clever as Nancy.

We’re also going over a few plot points we seemed to have missed back in the day. (Approximate actual email exchange: Mary Ann: Nancy had a dog? Dennis: Is this a revision?)

This mystery involves a missing stained glass window, a peacock, a lost letter that may or may not contain $100, and a trip to Charlottesville, Virginia, which is why I’m reading this particular book—I’ve lived in C’ville, as it’s known, and I’ve been to Monticello a time or two. And yes, Nancy does go sightseeing. You’d think she’d not have the time—or, quite frankly, the mental capacity to take it all in after being knocked unconscious (page 51)—but Nancy is visiting her cousin, and a good guest goes along to all historical attractions. Indeed, when Nancy and her chums head to Ash Lawn, we’re all pleased to learn that “James Madison, the fifth president of the United States, had built it here to be near his friend Thomas Jefferson.” The home is “more simple, but the gardens have the most beautiful boxwood you’ve ever seen.” And what pre-teen girl reader isn’t interested in horticulture? The book is a page-turner.

But I haven’t turned so many pages that I’m able to spoil the ending for you. Not that I would, of course! So far the point of the book seems to be that just because Nancy is on a case doesn’t mean she misses an opportunity to appreciate America. Which is a good lesson on this Fourth of July weekend, don’t you think? And while you’re busy being all patriotic and law-abiding and everything, don’t do something stupid like send cash in the mail. It’s illegal, says Nancy. And Togo, that’s her dog, isn’t going to help you find it. He’s, like, trained at such things, but he’s also, um, fictional, just so you know.

1 comment:

  1. I wish I could remember what went through my pre-teen head when I read words like "Monticello" and "boxwood." I know that I did have the mistaken impression that Virginia was the location of the Wild West. This from watching Bonanza, in which cowboys lived in a town called Virginia.