Friday, October 14, 2011

Nancy Drew Blog Party Day 14 - Old Attic Discussion

The Secret in the Old Attic

Witchy Diane Dight, missing sheet music, and a villain named...Bushy Trott! Let's Discuss! Add your comments to this posting below and let me know what you think of this story. Does it rate as a good spooky mystery apropos for a fall setting? Did you like the original or revision better? What's your favorite cover art of the 3 classic covers?

A Few Fast Facts:

Original Ghostwriter: Mildrd A. Wirt Benson

2 Illustrators: Russell H. Tandy and Rudy Nappi

Synopsis From My Website:

Nancy races against time to unravel clues in a dead man's letters. If she succeeds, Philip March and his little granddaughter can be saved from financial ruin. Following the obscure clues, Nancy undertakes a search for some unpublished musical manuscripts which she believes are hidden in the dark, cluttered attic of the rundown March mansion. But someone else wants them enough to put many frightening obstacles in Nancy's way.

This story is one of my favorites! Not only do we have a bit of that light/flirtatious romance going on between Ned and Nancy (more so in the original) but we have the super spooky old house with all the trappings of suspense--the secret room, the spiders, the skeleton, the ghostly burglar and the spooky old Dight factory too. The revision removes some of the drama from the original that made it a better story so the revision becomes a little less thrilling than the original.

Original vs. Revised - 5 Interesting Clues:

1. The original version has a subplot involving Nancy's nemesis Diane Dight coming between Nancy and Ned in stealing a telegram about an Emerson dance and then sneakily getting an invite from Ned.

2. Helen Corning appears briefly in the original version.

3. In the original version, Bushy Trott appears to be older than he does in the revision.

4. In the original, Trott leaves a tarantula spider to harm Nancy. It's a black widow in the revision.

5. Only in the revision do the fumes from the gas at the Dight factory knock Nancy out.

3 Mysterious Things About Nancy:

1. Nancy has a piano.

2. Nancy thinks many old things are far prettier than newer ones.

3. An owl hoot signal is one of her sleuthing specialties!

An Important Lesson We Learned From Nancy:

As important as it is to use your own wits and rely on yourself, sometimes it just feels really good to be rescued by a cute strong boy.

Sleuthworthy Rating on a Scale of 1-10:

10--Loved this one. All the trappings of that Gothic style mystery--suspense, secret rooms, the skeleton/spiders, a creepy maniacal villain, a dramatic rescue at the end.



Jan said...

This was the very first Nancy Drew I ever read, so it holds a special place in my heart! I was about 7 or 8 and had just discovered the shelf full of my mom's Nancy Drews (she thought she had all of the first 25, although we never did find her Old Clock, Twisted Candles or Ivory Charm!), and I have no idea what made me choose Old Attic to read out of all of them. But I loved it - then and now! I have only read the original version (I really need to make it a point to read both versions of all the early books back to back someday!).

I just wanted to wring Diane Dight's neck! I remember thinking the first time I read it "who's sneaking off with Nancy's telegram?"

I loved the intrigue of the old house - the secret room, the spookiness, etc., and I felt so sorry for old Mr. March - I so wanted him to "win!"

I find it funny that the spider was changed from a tarantula to a black widow in the revision! Unless things have changed, a girl as steady and level-headed as Nancy could be around a tarantula and not have anything happen. But a black widow could easily kill her, no matter what she did!

I love that Helen Corning is in the original story - I've always liked her, and even though I like Bess and especially George even better, I still miss her not being in most of the stories.

All in all, this is one of my favorites, and I still love reading it (like I said, though, I really need to read the revised version to see the differences).

Nancy Lauzon said...

I read this one a long time ago, and can't get my hands on a hard copy. I visit local used bookstores and flea markets, but we tend not to get as many collectible ND books up here in the Great White North (Canada). The cover I like best is the middle one, with Nancy in the red dress kneeling before the trunk. That's the version I read.


Jan said...

Shoot! I keep forgetting to put my name in my comments!
Jan Rader

Troi kett said...

I love that we all like Helen so well:) Is this the only book where Nancy has a piano??
Troi Hackett

Jenn said...

@Jan - I agree about Diane Dight!

@Troi - I believe she can play one in Missing Map--there was a piano in the old ship cottage and also Black Keys involved a little thing with piano keys related to one villain couple--I can't remember if it mentioned Nancy knowing how to play in that one, but might have.


LuAnn Sgrecci O'Connell said...

It's funny how in rereading these as an adult, they aren't quite as I remembered them. I did vividly remember the spiders, the sheet music and the spooky attic, but didn't remember it took place in River Heights and forgot all about the slave quarters. Somehow I had it mixed up with The Hidden Window Mystery--perhaps because of the attic in both.
I had never seen the red dress cover until I started collecting again a few years ago--it was fun to discover a few matte covers I had never seen before, like The Hidden Staircase with the two ladies and the 2nd Haunted Bridge!

Kansas Mad Man said...

Nancy's piano is actually illustrated in the very "fancy" interiors of revised "Letter." Piano is actually one talent of hers that I don't begrudge---many young people of her era could play the piano fairly well.

Diane Dight is a pain in the original. Effie is a delight as comic relief. The dance subplot is wonderful. Is this book the last that we see of Buck Rodman (or hear, anyway?) This book is SO Gothic. . . it could be used for so many different subplots. . Mary Roberts Rinehart's young women couldn't fare as well as Nancy. . .

Junior, who has gone anonymous as the KansasMadMan. . .