Bargain Sleuth Book Reviews's Reviews > The Clue of the Tapping Heels

The Clue of the Tapping Heels by Carolyn Keene
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bookshelves: nancy-drew
Read 3 times. Last read November 1, 2020 to November 18, 2020.

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I'm reviewing the OT, the Original Text of The Clue of the Tapping Heels. I really wish Goodreads would separate these Nancy Drew texts because the Revised Text is a completely different story.

First, the OT has not aged well with it's racial stereotypes, whether its the "colored" men (or as Ned actually calls one, "I saw a darky..." or the bumbling Irish cop. And the weird repeated description of a colored man with light freckles.

Second, the cover art is wrong. George and Bess were not around when Nancy found the ladder leading to the upstairs of her house.

Nancy is learning how to tap dance at the beginning of the story and mentions to "Mrs. Gruen" (not Hannah, which is weird) that she's learning to tap dance and thought it could be used for Morse Code. Ah, foreshadowing at its finest.

Miss Carter is a former actress but now she's a cat hoarder living in Berryville, a few miles away from River Heights, who can't keep up her place. The Bunce's are the neighbors who had a ward, Gus Woonton, a boy of undescribed age described as "simple minded". The Bunces don't take good care of Gus, so Miss Carter takes him in, but she can't handle him, either, and puts him in an institution and pays for his care even though she's strapped for money. They find out Gus has died, and Miss Carter would like the Bunce's to reimburse her for the money she spent on Gus, assuming his parents left him money. The Bunces claim there is none, threaten to turn Miss Carter in to the authorities for her cat hoarding, and are, in general, horrible neighbors. There's mysterious tapping going on at Miss Carter's and Nancy is asked to investigate.

Nancy, Bess and George take a train to New York and of course, the Bunces are on it. Nancy just knows they're up to no good!

At one point, when at a fortune teller's place, George and Nancy are drugged by incense?! and kidnapped. They manage to escape with the help of the bumbling police, who at least know that the "Egyptian" Omar is a pretty shady dude.

Turns out Gus Woonton is alive and well, he just escaped the institution. The doctor there said he was adapting well and a simple operation of the brain would make him a "normal" boy. Uh, can you say lobotomy? They were popular at the time the OT was written, and with almost all the cases, with disastrous effects.

Nancy is later kidnapped by the Bunce's and stuffed in a trunk headed to South America. They are helped by one of the ship's crewmen. Bess and George and Mr. Drew's detective convince the police to search the ship and at first find nothing, but Bess and George just know Nancy is on the ship and find her because she's tapping her feet in Morse Code.

Returning to Miss Carter's, Nancy discovers a secret room and finds Gus Woonton, who is a little underfed and disheveled. Turns out his real parents are the Bunce's, who worked for the wealthy Woontons, and claimed he was the Woonton's son to get ahold of their money, which they squandered.

There's a subplot involving a romance with Miss Carter and an old love, too, and selling one of her old plays so she can earn royalties and not live in such dire straits.

The story veered off into several different directions. I know that's common with Nancy Drew books and that all paths lead to several mysteries intertwining and being solved at the end, but this was a bit of a stretch for me.

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Reading Progress

January 9, 2015 – Started Reading
January 9, 2015 – Shelved
January 11, 2015 – Finished Reading
March 16, 2015 – Shelved as: nancy-drew
November 1, 2020 – Started Reading
November 18, 2020 – Started Reading (Other Hardcover Edition)
November 18, 2020 – Shelved (Other Hardcover Edition)
November 18, 2020 – Finished Reading
November 20, 2020 – Shelved as: nancy-drew (Other Hardcover Edition)
November 20, 2020 – Finished Reading (Other Hardcover Edition)

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