This is my fifth Nancy Drew Book in a month. Although I'm not sure who really wrote this book, it's obvious it's a different writer. Nancy's engaged friend Helen Corning is gone and the cousins George and Bess have replaced her. This book takes Nancy to Arizona far from River Heights and her family. Her father, Carson Drew and housekeeper Hannah Gruen are only mentioned in passing and play no part in this book. Also we hear for the first time of a boyfriend - Ned. Those who have read other Nancy Drew books know that George, Bess and their boyfriends along with Ned, become mainstays later.
Nancy as usual, is just trying to have a nice vacation and knit a sweater for her father. She no sooner lands at the airport than I mystery lands in her bag - a rattlesnake rattle, then a mysterious man leave a message in the car she and her friends are driving. Something or someone is haunting Shadow Ranch. There is a second mystery - George and Bess's uncle is missing from the bank where he is president. The authorities think he might have been part of a robbery there, but his daughter and the cousins don't think so.
Not only is Nancy a good sleuth, but in this book she's an excellent equestrian and a great baker. She meets a woman who runs a store in Tumbleweed and saves the store from robbery. Because of her heroism, the woman gives Nancy an old watch which just happens to have a clue to mystery.
Rock slides, a phantom horse, an old west romance, and a ghost town all play a part in this mystery. Of course, in the end, Nancy solves the mystery of the ranch, finds the treasure, rescues the bank president and leads the sheriff to the bad guy. When the dust clears, everyone loves Nancy and she's a bit wistful because the case is done and she doesn't know when she'll find another one - but she can finish knitting her father's sweater.
A bit on the hokey side for the 21st century - no cell phones, computer or other technology. The author describes the clothes, especially the "squaw" dresses the girls choose to wear to the BBQ. And I found it amusing that when the girls go to town to eat, they have tacos and the word is in italics. Obviously, this was a foreign food to most. I had to chuckle because where I live in Michigan, we have a Taco Bell and 5 authentic Mexican restaurants in town, plus the Eagles, the VFW, and the local bar all have taco day. But while the author emphasizes the word, she doesn't describe what they are. She does go into great detail about the cake that nice is baking.
These are fun books to read - if for no other reason than to have a glimpse into what was important in a by-gone time.