Melanie's Reviews > The Secret of the Old Clock

The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene
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's review
Feb 15, 2011

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bookshelves: 2011-reads, mystery, girls-series
Read from February 15 to March 15, 2011

How can you work on a girls' mystery series project and *not* read Nancy Drew? I don't think you can, so my inaugural Nancy is the 1938 printing of ND #1. How did I not read this book as a child?


Hmmm...I wish I had read Nancy for the first time as a kid, because I think I would have loved her then: she's spunky, independent, and ready to right the world's injustices. As an adult, though, I couldn't quite get past the fact that the injustices Nancy set out to resolve hinged upon putting that horrible Topham family in their place. They were guilty, of course, of being stingy and not helping those in need, but it seemed to me that their real crime was that they vulgarly tried too hard to rise above their station. Some people, apparently, just shouldn't be among the upper crust of River Heights, and some people, apparently, don't deserve to escape the depression unscathed (the 1929 novel's only reference to the depression? Mr. Topham's recklessness that led to his losses in the stock market. If only he'd had better sense, like Mr. Drew.). Then again, maybe you just shouldn't meet childhood icons for the first time when you're a grumpy adult sniffling your way through a cold.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Great review! :-)

I'll be excited to hear more about your project (sounds very fun and interesting!) and best wishes on a speedy recovery from your cold.

Katrina Roets Oh my gosh, I'm not the only one who thought that Nancy seemed a bit snobbish towards the very people she thought were snobs? Did it bother anyone else that she had no problem stealing that clock?

Lynn Hartter This version of Nancy Drew, the inaugural one, is slightly bolder and more spirited, especially verbally, than even the "original" Nancy that followed from the fourth volume up until the end of Benson's ghostwriting. It is presumed Edward Stratemeyer did little editing, resulting in the rather flip version of Nancy seen here. In the original story, Nancy indeed has a vendetta against the nouveau riche Tophams and their social-climbing, but actually is altruistic towards economically disadvantaged relatives of the dead Crowley. Again, prior to the post-war revision of the character, early Nancy breaks laws in order to solve her cases---she opens locked rooms, doors, windows, desks, briefcases, dressers, snoops and spies, "steals" evidence. . . and then gets involved in a peppery gun battle-car chase! (She actually packs heat in two of the next four volumes!) In the revision, she asks to keep the clock as evidence since she can identify it as having been in the house.

message 4: by C. (new) - rated it 2 stars

C. I don't find Nancy snobby and don't think this reviewer said so. But I share the view that a lot of this novel is illogical. Fighting cooersion of money from the elderly was not one of the issues for me. Especially with witnesses aware of Josiah's dislike for the Tophams and his clear intentions for the others.

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