Friday, October 21, 2011

Nancy Drew Blog Party Day 21: Blackwood Hall Discussion

A band of swindlers using fake seances to steal from victims, burying your jewels in the woods, and spirit photographers. 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 2 classic covers?

A Few Fast Facts:

Original Ghostwriter: Mildred A. Wirt Benson

2 Illustrators: Russell H. Tandy and Rudy Nappi

Synopsis From My Website:

When Mrs. Putney seeks Nancy's help in recovering her stolen jewelry, the search for thieves takes Nancy, Bess, and George to New Orleans. Mrs. Putney's strange behavior and two young women involve Nancy in a case about a cruel hoax of "haunting" spirits at Blackwood Hall.

I enjoyed this mystery with the old spooky house, the "ghost", the hidden elevator and all those spooky trappings plus the old woods and family lore. It was nice to see Togo have a larger role in the story. The original version flows better as usual and is enjoyable to read, the revision choppier.

Original vs. Revised - 5 Interesting Clues:

1. In the original, Ned is chloroformed and tied to a tree--this does not happen in the revision.

2. George uses the phrase "Jumping Jellyfish" in the original.

3. In the original, Carson Drew is described as keeping a pocketknife in his pocket.

4. Hannah goes from being the "faithful" housekeeper in the original to the "family" housekeeper in the revision.

5. The original focuses on Ned's radio hobby.

3 Mysterious Things About Nancy:

1. She has legal blood in her veins (according to Carson Drew).

2. She has a sweet tooth.

3. She's the best amateur detective in River Heights

An Important Lesson We Learned From Nancy:

It never pays to flimflam the public!

Sleuthworthy Rating on a Scale of 1-10:

9-Good spooky mystery, liked the brief trip to New Orleans, Mrs. Putney was not one of my favorite characters overall though.



Jambob said...

Halloween around the corner...what is better that a Nancy Drew Book with a ghost in it?

Jan said...

I really like this book - always have. I think it makes a great story for this time of year. I can't say whether I like the original or revision better because I only have the original, and that's the only one I've read. I also like the Tandy much better. It's the one I grew up with, but it also shows the spooky hall, which the Nappi cover doesn't. It shows the "ghost," but I think it's almost spookier when you don't know what you're about to come across!
Jan Rader

Anonymous said...

@Jan -- Same for me! Someone gave me the original version when I was a kid, and I've never read the revision. One cringe-worthy racial reference aside, this one was a lot of fun, and the Tandy cover is adorable. Plus, Nancy rescues Ned from quicksand, proving to naysayers that she didn't always sit around and wait for him to do the heavy lifting!

LuAnn Sgrecci O'Connell said...

Since the revision doesn't change the story much, just eliminates elements, I prefer the original. With the ghost, magician's 'tools' and the spooky hall, it was one of my favorites as a kid, though less so now. I didn't like Mrs. Putney much, either, though it was a new twist to have Nancy's 'client' change her mind about having Nancy's help. As to covers, I like both--I like the colors of the Tandy but the setting and chums of the Nappi.

Nancy Lauzon said...

I prefer the revised cover art, since that's the one I remember reading.


Shell in the City said...

Great post! I am reading both editions of Blackwood Hall for the next Carolina Sleuths meeting. I finished the revised (the one I grew up reading) and I'm about to read the original. Of course, I love the Nappi cover..goes back to my childhood. I remember reading the revised on a hot summer afternoon on the back porch of my family home in PA. Perfect fall mystery!!

ksmadman (Junior) said...

I like this story a great deal. The idea that the swindlers were stealing money from working girls was a nice twist, but the fact that they appeared socially inferior to Nancy, even through implication, wasn't my favorite. . . .the quicksand episode was highly romantic and worthy of a spy thriller. Mrs. Putney is not a nice person, and I rather enjoy that she is, through implication, a bit foolish in her spiritualism beliefs---overboard, anyway. My favorite moment---you think Nancy's going to die on elevator, but, nope, turn the page and she puts her sleeve in the bottle. . . not quite as exciting. The ghost who plays the organ is a classic horror element. Hanna-Barbara steals elements of this mystery story for one or two Scooby Doo mysteries (Not a first, HB seems to regularly borrow elements or even scenes from children's detective fiction). Still a favorite story. I like the late 40's Nancy very much; I don't care for how she is depicted on the next cover. . .

Jenn said...

The original cover actually has a ghost behind the door peeking out--sort of ghostly--but you can't see it on the picture cover version since it's more cropped.