July 2, 2007

Nancy Drew: The Clue in the Jewel Box - by Carolyn Keene

So, what's up with Nancy Drew? That's what all of my readers wanted to know (didn't you?), so I set off to find out. I chose the 20th book in Carolyn Keene's Nancy Drew Mystery Series, which was written over 70 years ago. It tells the tale of Nancy, a wealthy city socialite (popular girl in town), who stumbled across a series of odd coincidences, and used them to take her shot at solving several mysteries. Along the way, Nancy made several new friends, including a rich old woman who gives her very expensive gifts, and a nasty man who turns out not to be who he claimed he was. Of course, like any good detective, Nancy solves the puzzles in the end, and the bad guys get their due.

I wonder how well my students could relate to a story like this. The characters are complex, the plot has some good twists and turns, and the setting is very unlike most children's books I've read. Nancy is an older girl, with her own expensive car, boyfriends, and rich father who doesn't seem to deny her anything. She is used to high society, and goes to all sorts of fancy parties. The time period is interesting, but the writing seems best for slightly older readers, though I'm curious as to how much interest they'd have in books from this era. I'm curious to know what you, the readers, think of Nancy Drew.