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The Secret of Shadow Ranch

(Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #5)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  17,097 ratings  ·  676 reviews
This cool paperback blank journal features one of the most memorable cover images from the classic Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series.
192 pages
Published September 1st 1980 by Grosset & Dunlap (first published 1931)
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Amy Yes, the first 34 Nancy Drew books were rewritten, starting in 1959. While some of them only had minor changes, this one has a new plot and characters…moreYes, the first 34 Nancy Drew books were rewritten, starting in 1959. While some of them only had minor changes, this one has a new plot and characters.

The original text version is The Secret at Shadow Ranch
The revised text version is The Secret of Shadow Ranch(less)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  17,097 ratings  ·  676 reviews

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Mar 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: raising-arizona
Ah. . . the 1930s. . . it was a sweeter, gentler time. . . a time with neither Coronavirus nor market looting.

Yes, there was something called The Great Depression and you may have heard the rumors that there was some nasty racism, too, but none of these ugly matters plague our young heroine, Nancy, in this, or in any other, of her adventures.

For “titian-haired Nancy was a trim figure in her olive-green knit with matching shoes” and, even when she and her young female friends are threatened at t
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I began to read, I sensed something different in this fifth volume in the Nancy Drew mysteries. In fact, there are several differences.

First, the book starts with Nancy in Phoenix. In the previous books, Nancy is at home in River Heights, or at least not too far away, and the mystery comes to her. She is sought out for her sleuthing skills and to solve the mystery. In The Secret of Shadow Ranch, she goes to Arizona to meet up with friends and discovers the mystery at hand.

That brings us to
Jeremy Preacher
This continues my series of comparative reviews of the 1930s and 1950s editions of the Nancy Drew books.

Shadow Ranch was the mystery with the biggest divergence of story so far. I've been trying to read them more or less in parallel, but that was pretty much impossible here - they're basically two distinct stories with different plots entirely.

In the 1930s version, there are two main mysteries - what happened to Alice's father, and what's the deal with the little blonde girl who lives with the m
Michael Finocchiaro
In this 5th adventure of brilliant girl detective Nancy Drew, there are phantom horses, cute cowboys, rockslides and apple pies - all you'd expect from a good Nancy adventure. My daughter might already be outgrowing these stories - her rapidly maturing 8-year old mind is already deep into Harry Potter - but I still loved reading this little classic to her with wild horse rides, square dancing (is that even still a thing?), and hijinks galore. ...more
Charles  van Buren
Charles van Buren

Read the original edition

September 7, 2019

Format: Hardcover

Review by Catherine, grade five. On Amazon it is really hard to tell which edition you are buying. I got the original. There were other editions in the 1960's that made Nancy more girly. I'm not a girly girl. Read the originals.

One of my best friends lives on a horse ranch and riding school so I picked this book for AR at my school. It was a really good mystery and treasure hunt.
Mark Baker
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It’s summer, and Nancy has been invited to spend it with her best friends Bess Marvin and George Fayne on the ranch their uncle Ed and aunt Bet have just bought in Arizona. However, she has barely landed when she learns that things aren’t going well on the ranch. Someone is trying to drive the new owners off the land with acts of sabotage, most of which are foreshadowed by a phantom horse. There is a legend that an old outlaw cursed the ranch, but Nancy thinks the culprits are more modern and ve ...more
Nov 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, of the four I've recently read, The Secret of the Old Clock (#1), The Bungalow Mystery (#3), The Mystery of Lilac Inn (#4) and this one, The Secret of Shadow Ranch (#5), this is by far the best. (I can't find my TWO copies of The Hidden Staircase (#2), so haven't re-read and reviewed it yet.)

This mystery, considering it's the world of Nancy Drew, is well-written, and contains clues, evidence, and a storyline that seems more natural than the others and less 'forced.' Nancy does move from on
Mar 31, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidlit, mystery
I would love to see another edition of this book. In the order of the series, this is number five, but Ned Nickerson, Nancy's longtime and long suffering boyfriend gets several mentions. Too bad he doesn't make his first appearance until book seven! I have the "purple" editions, the double editions that were published two books to each volume as a collectible set. The books have, over the years, gone through a lot of edits to "update" them. I'd love to know if this quirk is particular to a certa ...more
One Code 431
Considering it's a small book i did take my time reading this book and everytime i return to this book its almost felt like returning to a friend and i loved every second of it.!!

The characters were so fun and lovey especially the girls were so fun and didn't shy away from the dangers it truly truly fun and a lovely read. Dave is my crush i Loved him . and i would have loved to see Nancy and Dave having a conversation sad that didn't happen !!!!

"!! Her friend smiled. “Work on the sweater I’m kni
Purty good!
Jun 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nancy Drew Fans / Middle-Grade Readers Who Enjoy Mystery Stories
Nancy Drew and her friends George Fayne and Bess Marvin head to Arizona in this fifth installment of the classic mystery series for young readers. As George and Bess' aunt, Mrs. Rawley, works to get Shadow Ranch into better condition in order to sell it, the girls have a series of exciting adventures in the mountains, confronting wild lynx and cougars, and fording raging rivers. Nancy also finds herself getting involved in a local mystery, as she investigates the nasty Martha Frank and her abusi ...more
Jessica Schwartz
A patron let me borrow a copy of the book in its original 1931 form, and it was such a fun throwback. I particularly liked how when Nancy and Co. couldn't get a man to accompany them on their hike into the mountains, their aunt thought they should at least take a revolver to keep them safe. And spoiler alert...Nancy ends up shooting an animal that is now on the endangered species list because she is one badass beeyotch. ...more
May 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middlegrade
This was pretty lame. It could barely hold my attention.
I’m pleased to report that Nancy Drew, my second nostalgia read of the month, has held up well over the years. The Secret of Shadow Ranch (Nancy Drew #5) by Carolyn Keene is not a bad little mystery. There’s not a lot of character development, but at least everyone has a distinct personality and the book is fast-paced and enjoyable. The plot isn’t all that believable, but that’s okay.

Super sleuth, titian-haired Nancy Drew and her friends Bess and George head to Shadow Ranch near Phoenix, AZ for
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the Nancy drew mysteries and as always is in an interesting location when Nancy is on vacation and comes across a theft she gets to solve, it is a good book for young adults
Jan 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun mystery that takes Nancy Drew to a ranch with a phantom horse mystery. Although I have to admit that my favorite character is Chief the dog (who politely asked Nancy if he could ride on a horse with her, to get across the river... too cute!).
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
First published 1931, but my copy must have come in for one of those 1960s rewrites, because man it was bland. No real thirties feel, except maybe the whole dude-ranch thing (which was also a trope in the Henry Reed novels written in the late fifties, so you can't go by that either.) Not sure why I found this one so dull except that even for a ND it seemed awfully superficial. I was surprised when told that Bess and George were invited to the ranch, and Nancy "easily convinced" them to invite he ...more
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Saddle up and join Nancy (along with the first appearance of her best chums, cousins Bess Marvin and George Fayne) as she travels to Phoenix for her next mystery. There's a scene where they all dress up in Indian squaw costumes for a dance in this definitely now historical (but still charming) story. ...more
Out of the Bex
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sadly I didn’t read Nancy Drew as a child, but I’m making up for it now. I have become absolutely obsessed with the series!

This one and book #1 are my favorites so far!
Jun 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nancy Drew arrives in Phoenix , Arizona , eagerly looking forward to a fun-filled vacation at Shadow Ranch , but abruptly finds herself involved in a baffling mystery . The Ranch is being huanted by a phantom horse and maliciously damaged by an unknown enermy . Local people believe that the ghostly animal is carrying out the curse of Dir-k Valentine , the romantic outlaw who was killed many years ago at Shadow Ranch , where hee had gone to fulfill a promise to his sweetheart .
Suspecting that a
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, usa
This is the first Nancy Drew book featuring Bess and George. I had been waiting to meet them, and finally I did! Sadly, this book is not a very interesting one. Nancy goes to spend a holiday with Bess and George at their aunt and uncle Rawling's ranch. Alice, a cousins of Bess and George (but not the Rawling's child) is also there because her father has disappeared. There is a phantom horse that gallops around the place at night and a treasure buried years ago by an outlaw.

It all appears to be f
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nancy-drew
1931 version
Nancy and her gal pals learn to ride horses and on the following days get lost on the dangerous trails five million times. They do not know the 6 "C"s of survival. (Combustion tool, Container, Cordage, Cover, Cutting tool, and Compass) (And yes, the compass had been invented 2000 years ago, so they had No excuse not to have one.)

Also, they meet a super nice little girl who for some reason is being forced to live with a mean ol' hag. (ooooh, mysterious.)

1957 version
Nancy and her gal p
Wow, I somehow never read this Nancy Drew canon entry in my youth, but I loved the HerInteractive computer game based on it and this book definitely did justice to my high expectations. Wild West roping, riding, treasure, danger, a great background history love story, and phantoms! I'm barely started in my series read project so I feel it's entirely too soon to name a favorite, but I bet this will be a serious contender. 13-year-old me would have been crazy about this. ...more
John Yelverton
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nancy Drew leaves the big city, but uncovers a mystery in the Arizona wilderness. Another great addition to this book series.
Dec 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Quickie Review

Good for what it is...but not as good as the other entries in this series, in my opinion.

Score: 3/5
Tisha (IG: Bluestocking629)
Whoo hoo! Nan solved yet another mystery (no need for "spoiler alert" we all know she solves every mystery!).

And get this, there was another trap door/secret entrance. Again no need for "spoiler alert" as I suspect there will be more super secret passageways in the next 50+ books as well.

Oh and in addition to solving the mystery Nan had time to brush her titian hair until it gleamed. How does she do it!?!? I solve no mysteries yet my hair does not gleam. What gives?

Will I ever tire of Nan? Not l
3.5 stars
Bit of an old-style western feel to this one. Took me a bit to get into as well. It just didn't grab me very well. I felt that Nancy was sometimes too suspicious in some ways but missed other clues. Alice annoyed me a bit as well so that didn't help. Luckily the story does bit up and was actually a bit more involved than past books which was nice.
It's always nice to read the old childhood favourite mystery sleuth who I love and whose criminals are really nice guys, quite stupid, quarrelsome and afraid to kill. Such innocent and sweet criminals they had in those days! :P

Happy reading! :)
Rebecca Reynolds
3.5 stars.

Yay to finally seeing Bess and George! This is also the first Nancy Drew mystery that I vividly remember playing the computer game for, so I really enjoyed that sense of nostalgia.

In terms of story, this was okay. The resolution wrapped up pretty quickly. Also “Eating is really a very fattening hobby, dear cousin” did not have to come at my neck like that, haha.
4.5 stars & 5/10 hearts. This story reminded me a little of a Trixie Belden book, as well as a couple other mystery stories I've read. Parts of the mystery were easy to figure out, which was fun, but other parts were a surprise, which was also really enjoyable! I liked the characters, though I was puzzled that Helen disappeared so suddenly and George & Bess arrived out of nowhere. It was a fun, interesting mystery, and well-done overall. ...more
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Play Book Tag: [Poll Tally] The Secret of Shadow Ranch by Carolyn Keene - 5 stars eternally and forever 3 8 Apr 08, 2020 09:56PM  
Wow!!! 5 58 Jan 03, 2019 01:22PM  
recormendation 6 33 Aug 20, 2014 04:37AM  

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Carolyn Keene is a writer pen name that was used by many different people- both men and women- over the years. The company that was the creator of the Nancy Drew series, the Stratemeyer Syndicate, hired a variety of writers. For Nancy Drew, the writers used the pseudonym Carolyn Keene to assure anonymity of the creator.

Edna and Harriet Stratemeyer inherited the company from their father Edward Str

Other books in the series

Nancy Drew Mystery Stories (1 - 10 of 175 books)
  • The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, #1)
  • The Hidden Staircase (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #2)
  • The Bungalow Mystery (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, #3)
  • The Mystery at Lilac Inn (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, #4)
  • The Secret of Red Gate Farm (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, #6)
  • The Clue in the Diary (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, #7)
  • Nancy's Mysterious Letter (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, #8)
  • The Sign of the Twisted Candles (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, #9)
  • Password to Larkspur Lane (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, #10)
  • The Clue of the Broken Locket (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, #11)

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