Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nancy Drew Blog Party Day 11 - My Favorite & Least Favorite Nancy Drew Books

5 Favorite Nancy Drew Books

What are your favorite Nancy Drew books? Was it a particular cover art or a story and plot that you were intrigued by? Or was it sentimental--maybe the first book you read or a book someone special gave you?

1. #2 The Hidden Staircase - I like this one because of the plot and the spooky setting and suspense with the haunted house, hidden staircases and passageways, and the historical nature of the home.

2. #4 The Mystery at Lilac Inn - I prefer the revised text since the story is set mostly at the inn in this revision plus the lilacs and clues related to them become more a part of the mystery and I love lilacs.

3. #9 The Sign of the Twisted Candles - I love the rain storm that draws the girls to the spooky old inn, the mysterious turret room and the old-timer Asa Sidney and his hidden treasures and secrets are neat. The humorous way the original is written by ghostwriter Walter Karig is great too--the way Nancy makes the bumbling villain Semitt "eat her dust" in the car chase is hilarious as is his falling down the stairs when caught eavesdropping. I like some of the revision too for the fact that there's more of a treasure hunt around the inn.

4. #21 The Secret in the Old Attic - Another old spooky house with history--love those. The secret room and hidden treasures is always fun. The spiders and the old factory provide some spookiness as well. Loved the skeleton hanging in the wardrobe. We also get to see just how ditzy maid Effie is in this volume with all her histrionics.

5. #33 - The Witch Tree Symbol - A trip to Amish country in PA complete with lots of fabulous food and the search for a mysterious witch tree and an old family secret/fortune to be discovered plus the historical background of the antique furniture was great!

5 Least Favorite Nancy Drew Books

Which Nancy Drew books rate as your least favorite? Why?

Here's mine:

1. #11 The Clue of the Broken Locket - (Original Version) The original text is a different story from the revised and I don't particularly care for it. The over-the-top dramatic actors, the blah twins, and the missing mother in histrionics on the cliff edge. I much prefer the revision set at a mysterious lakeside area with the phantom launch and all the other shenanigans going on.

2. #13 The Mystery of the Ivory Charm - I've never particularly cared for this one either with the strange home with trapeze ropes to the weirdo lady and her chanting "powers" plus the mystical potion that saves a life in the end was a bit out there.

3. #47 The Mysterious Mannequin - This is another of those books that Nancy travels outside the US and some of the trip is interesting, but overall I didn't find the mystery and the mannequin to be that thrilling. Even Helen Corning's reappearance for a quick game of tennis didn't do much for me ;)

4. #53 The Sky Phantom - The cover to this book is incredibly unappealing--Nancy's hair looks unattractive and the sky phantom isn't even related to the sky phantom in the book. The mystery set on a ranch has such a strange crime--arms smugglers for Nancy to be solving, though more cutting edge than finding missing heirlooms of past mysteries I suppose. The discovery of oil in them thar hills was also a bit silly and Nancy gave up her riches to the prospector. Silly girl! What was really silly was Bess's getting hysterical over choosing between a cowboy she dates and Dave Evans. In the end she settles on Dave but I was rolling my eyes right along with George through the process.

5. #54 The Strange Message in the Parchment - The setting on a sheep farm was OK, but not my favorite setting. I was amused when Nancy purchased items in a store to be polite after gaining clues from the shop owner. Really bizarre was the gang of union/mobster types screwing the little guy and their flock of mechanical birds terrorizing people. Mechanical birds!? As a child I'm sure I thought that was the darndest thing! ;)

Jenn:)

14 comments:

MK said...

How interesting--I like Hidden Staircase and Witch Tree Symbol a lot less, and Ivory Charm and OT Broken Locket a lot more! But I'm in total agreement on loving Old Attic and Twisted Candles, and not enjoying so much the late canon titles. That's what makes the world interesting, different tastes and preferences!

MK

Pam H. said...

One of my least favorite stories is The Crooked Banister. The whole thing just seemed far-fetched, even for a Nancy Drew tale. If I remember, and correct me if I'm wrong, I think Rawley Banister died at sea? and his body was never found. This seemed like a really big loose end that could easily lead the way into a returning criminal investigation. Maybe an item for the new series, hhmmm...

Pam H.

Kansas Mad Man said...

My favorites: The Clue of the Velvet Mask (definitely no. 1), then, in no order, Hidden Staircase, Fire Dragon, Lilac Inn (Revised), The Clue in the Diary, and The Haunted Bridge (original.

My LEAST favorites: Bungalow Mystery (Original), Moss-Covered Mansion (revised), Hollow Oak (revised, and cover was SCARY as a kid), Larkspur Lane (revised), Whispering Statue (Revised--does nothing for me).

I think the original mystery is too simple in Bungalow, I didn't like the skull on the new Hollow Oak, and while Whispering Statue is one of the few where Nancy goes in disguise, its a great mystery. If I were going to include more than five favorites, I'd have to add Dancing Puppet, Mysterious Letter (football subplots)Moonstone, and original Old Attic.

Kansas Mad Man said...

My favorites: The Clue of the Velvet Mask (definitely no. 1), then, in no order, Hidden Staircase, Fire Dragon, Lilac Inn (Revised), The Clue in the Diary, and The Haunted Bridge (original.

My LEAST favorites: Bungalow Mystery (Original), Moss-Covered Mansion (revised), Hollow Oak (revised, and cover was SCARY as a kid), Larkspur Lane (revised), Whispering Statue (Revised--does nothing for me).

I think the original mystery is too simple in Bungalow, I didn't like the skull on the new Hollow Oak, and while Whispering Statue is one of the few where Nancy goes in disguise, its a great mystery. If I were going to include more than five favorites, I'd have to add Dancing Puppet, Mysterious Letter (football subplots)Moonstone, and original Old Attic.

Iggy Skywalker Sama said...

My least favorite has got to be the Flying Saucer Mystery. The fact that she and Ned had the same dream that they were part bird and could fly was just a little too weird for me. And the best explanation for it as the end was that it was a "military secret". I thought Nancy would press to know more, but I was surprised she was okay with just that. I like the original, down-to-earth Nancy Drews a lot better, particularly The Secret at Shadow Ranch. There was a lot more sleuthing and actual detective work involved, plus it had a great story line :P
- Sarah

Regina L. said...

This is my first post on this site - and I'm a member of the ND Sleuths!

I just finished re-reading the original 56 after being diagnosed and treated for a life-threatening illness - I felt like I needed the literary equivalent of comfort food as I went through my journey. The funny part was that the ones I remembered loving were still my favorites; the ones I didn't like back then were the same ones I didn't enjoy this time.

Favorites?

Secret of the Old Clock (Started my ND obession when my beloved, now deceased, aunt gave me this book for my 8th birthday 30 years ago.)

Clue in The Diary (Nancy and Ned! In the best "Meet Cute" story ever!)

Twisted Candles (Just got to read original and found Nancy to be extra-spunky and awesome in both versions.)

Secret of the Golden Pavilion (ooh, let's go visit our newest state, kids! Seems hilarious now, but I'm sure it was very exotic when first published. Loved it, though, in that kitchsy way.)

Fire Dragon (SOS in lipstick? That's a useful life skill, gang. Ned and Nancy flirting all over Hong Kong? Adorable.)

Least Favorites?

Ivory Charm (I totally agree with you on this one. Someone dies and then comes back to life because of the charm? What's that, now? I know others enjoyed - no offense intended, I promise.)

Moss Covered Mansion (I've never read the original, but the revised version? NASA and exploding oranges? Who thought this was a good idea?)


Secret of the Wooden Lady (I remembered HATING this one as a kid, and had the same reaction this time - boring. Only book I could not get through to the end. I still did not care about the stupid wooden figurehead.)

Sky Phantom (Again, agree with others' comments. Cover = straight-up ugly, and that whole "Bess & the cowboy" subplot = ridiculous. For the first time, I understood why George wanted to smack her.)

Regina L.

Melissa Huray said...

I love this post! Too hilarious! The Hidden Staircase was my first book purchased in 1981...I absolutely love the cover and the story... recently just read it again 30 years later. I also love the Sign of the Twisted Candles. One I didn't care for much was the Mystery at the Ski Jump... the cover looks so ominous but the story, not so much..blah.. Also the crocodile island one... I love that it is set in the Keys but could hardly finish it as an adult.

susied said...

Read some Nancy Drew books years ago but can't remember them to comment. However, have just re-read the first three - the revised version - and have to say that Old Clock and Bungalow are my current favorites.

Kansas Mad Man said...

Oops, I meant to say the revised Whispering Statue is not a great mystery (or cover, for that matter). I agree with the Wiki article that it is bizarre that Nancy and the statue have the same hairdo.

Sky Phantom is terrible. Yuck. Someone had commented that it influenced tv's "Diamond Triangle," but it didn't seem similar at all, other than the plane. But Flying Saucer makes me think of the many times there were drugged moments, like Tolling Bell and Tapping Heels. . .and makes me laugh. For once, Bess is the danger-prone cousin and falls down the hill, too (so slowly the dog could catch her). Poor Harriet. . . Nancy Axelrad should have axed this book!

Junior

Shell in the City said...

My least favorites are definitely The Mystery of the Ivory Charm, Moss-Covered Mansion and Tapping Heels. So many favorites - Shadow Ranch, Lilac Inn, Blackwood Hall, Wooden Lady, Velvet Mask, Ski Jump, Hidden Window.

Nancy Lauzon said...

I must confess, it wasn't always the plot that made a book my favorite. Sometimes it was Nancy's outfits (what can I say, I was a budding fashionista). But I think my favorite book was The Mystery of the Tolling Bell(OT). The scene where Nancy is trapped in the cave with the tide rushing in behind her. That was a nail biter. I also fondly remember the Clue in the Diary, because all Nancy and her friends seemed to do was eat. Made me hungry.

Nancy
http://chickdickmysteries.com

sequesterednooks said...

It's neat how there are some trends, but everyone has his/her own opinion.

For me, OT Broken Locket is probably hand-down my top favorite. I love how the family is reunited in the end, and I've never read the revised version. Ringmaster's Secret and Scarlet Slipper Mystery are also at the top of the list.

It's harder to pick a least favorite. I remember so many of them fondly, even if the quality isn't as great looking back with an adult eye.

Jan said...

I agree with all of your favorites - they seem to be some of my favorites, too. It's, otherwise, very difficult to choose the best of the best. I do like one that's on your lest favorites list - Broken Locket. I don't know why, but I've always liked reading it - not a favorite, but I do like it. I noticed that the other "least favorites" you chose were all later volumes, too!

For SOME of my favorites, I'd probably choose: Old Attic, Tolling Bell, Old Album, Jewel Box, and Leaning Chimney. Of course, except for the last one, I really have a hard time choosing when it comes to Mildred Wirt's volumes - I just about love them all (the originals). And I really like Whispering Statue, if for no other reason than Togo shows up!

I can't really choose my least favorites without a lot of thought, but I tend to have a harder time reading the last ten or so volumes (say, Crooked Bannister to the 13th Pearl).

I do love this blog party, though!

Heidi Cogdill said...

Before I start I have not read all of the Nancy Drew yet so I will pick by cover. I have read 1-4 but I will pick on the art of the books.

#1 the secret of the okd clock
#2 the hidden staircase
#3 the clue in the old album
#4 the secret in the old attic
#5 the haunted bridge
#6 the clue in the jewel box

Those are my favs. These are my not favs.

#1 mystery of the glowing eye
#2 mystery of the moss-covered mansion
#3 the scarlet slipper mystery
#4 mystery of the tolling bell
#5 the secret of the red gate farm.

I just love love love Nancy Drew. :)