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Nancy's Mysterious Letter (1932)

af Carolyn Keene

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Serier: Nancy Drew (8)

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1,981176,319 (3.7)63
Nancy receives a letter meant for a British heiress who has the same name and, in her attempts to contact the other young woman, faces danger from a man who operates a Lonely Hearts Club mail fraud.
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Viser 1-5 af 17 (næste | vis alle)
A little bit too much fluff -- like the Emerson football match -- than mystery. Still, I did enjoy reading it. Just wasn't as good as the other OT's I've read recently. ( )
  JohnnyRue | Sep 7, 2021 |
00010284
  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
Teen sleuth Nancy Drew confronts two mysteries, both related to the mail, in this eighth entry in the series devoted to her ongoing adventures. Her regular mailman, Mr. Ira Dixon, was due to retire from the Postal Service with a thirty-five year, unblemished record. Coming into a modest inheritance, the kindly old man who had been Nancy's friend since she was a little girl, planned to retire. Then, on one of his last days of work, his mailbag was stolen, bringing him into disgrace. Feeling responsible, as the bag was stolen when Nancy invited Mr. Dixon inside for a cup of cocoa, Nancy decided to investigate. Her suspicions were aroused when she learned that the mailman's younger half-brother, a "wild boy," had been demanding half of Mr. Dixon's inheritance, even though he was not entitled to it. As she got involved in this situation, Nancy also found herself searching for another Nancy Drew, an English Nancy Drew living in America, whose letter had been mistakenly delivered to her - Nancy Drew, the sleuth. While investigating the mystery of the stolen mail pouch and attempting to track down the other Nancy Drew, our heroine also traveled to nearby Emerson College, where her friend Ned Nickerson was to play in the big annual football game against the state college...

Published in 1932, Nancy's Mysterious Letter was the first of the Nancy Drew books not ghost-written by Mildred Wirt Benson, who authored books 1-7, 11-25 and 30 in the series, and who is considered the true creator of the character. Books 8-10 of the series were written by a man named Walter Karig, and although it is not glaringly obvious that a new author is at the helm, there are some clues to that effect. Chief amongst them is the prominent role played by the football game, in the story. Karig's detailed description of the game reminded me of boys' sports-fiction authors of the 1920s and 30s, including such writers as Earl Reed Silver (of whose books, I have read a number). While Nancy is described in previous entries in the series as an accomplished sportswoman, particularly in those episodes occurring at camp, or requiring physical nerve, here the details of football are a bit beyond her feminine mind, and the author depicts all of the women heading back to the comfortable hotel after the game, rather than staying for the rowdy post-game celebrations. This is perhaps true to the time, in terms of gendered social conventions, but it struck me as out of keeping with the tone of earlier volumes, in which Nancy is game for anything. Leaving that aside, traveling to Emerson itself is central to the plot, as Nancy solves both of her mysteries in that locale.

I did enjoy this entry in the series, despite the consciousness of there being a new author, and a slightly different tone - Nancy is more reliant on Ned Nickerson and his father, in this volume, than she seems to have been on other figures, in previous books - and I appreciated the fact that we meet Helen Corning again, however briefly. I read the Applewood Books reprint of the original version - the Nancy Drew books were revised and condensed in the 1950s and 60s - and, as always, I appreciated the many period details. There were one or two unpleasant moments where black porters spoke in the broken dialect assigned to such characters in so many vintage children's books of the era, but these were thankfully very brief. In thinking about why I prefer these original versions to the updated, sanitized ones from a few decades later, despite the far more objectionable social content, I always come back to their more accomplished writing, and to the "period details." Of course, the 1950s are now quite removed from us today, historically speaking, but somehow they don't seem as historical as the 1920s and 30s. I was reminded of this feeling, reading Jane Smiley's introduction to this edition, in which she writes:

"Reading Nancy Drew, as many grown women can attest, can lead in strange ways to adult careers. For me, I think it was those strange words like "roadster" and "sleuth" that made me want to make words and stories my life. These Nancy Drew reprints from the thirties aren't as familiar or easy for girls today as later rewrites and 'The Nancy Drew Files,' but their very strangeness gives girls something that I don't think they should miss."

Exactly! What a lovely way of encapsulating the appeal and importance of these original Nancy Drew books, and of vintage children's books in general! ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Jul 29, 2020 |
Nancy, Bess, and George have returned from a visit to Red Gate Farm with their arms loaded with fresh produce. They have settled in at Nancy's for tea when Ira Dixon, the postman, arrives with a letter for her from England. Nancy knows he is retiring after many years of service and so coaxes him into the house for a cup of tea, despite it being against regulations. After the brief visit, to their dismay, they discover Mr. Dixon's post-bag has been stolen! Nancy is implicated in the theft and Dixon's pension and reputation are on the line.

Later, she opens her letter and discovers that someone with the name of Nancy Drew stands to inherit a fortune. Nancy's determined to find the rightful heir. Meanwhile, Ned Nickerson has invited Nancy to watch him in 'the big game' at Emerson College.

The two mysteries are given equal time (and a large share is given to football which is equally baffling and charming) as Nancy does some actual legwork in tracking down her namesake and her prime suspect in the mail-theft: a shifty half-brother of Mr. Dixon's.

There is a brief reunion with Helen Corning, Nancy's first friend, but she doesn't do much other than nap, fret, and dance. Despite this book being written by a new author to the series - a man named Walter Karig (that explains the football) - Nancy is still a rebel, chasing down leads and taking risks on the road. If she also enjoys a fancy dress ball and Ned's attentions, more power to her. Of course there is a reliance on coincidence, but somehow it doesn't get stale the way it has with some of the Hardy Boys.

Nancy Drew

Next: 'The Sign of the Twisted Candles'

Previous: 'The Clue in the Diary' ( )
1 stem ManWithAnAgenda | Jul 25, 2019 |
I absolutely loved Nancy Drew growing up. This was a series I latched on to for dear life and never let go. Anytime my mom and I would go to antique stores, we'd peruse the Nancy Drews and add them to the collection (oftentimes my mom had to make deals with me on how many I could buy). So, while I don't remember the exact details of each and every one, the entire series was amazing and really fed my love for reading (especially novels full of suspense and mystery). Thank you, Carolyn Keene, for giving us an intelligent female character to fall in love with in Nancy Drew! ( )
  justagirlwithabook | Aug 1, 2018 |
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Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Carolyn Keeneprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Smiley, JaneIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Tandy, Russell H.Illustratormedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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"Oh, poor Ira!" Nancy Drew exclaimed and slowed her convertible.
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Nancy receives a letter meant for a British heiress who has the same name and, in her attempts to contact the other young woman, faces danger from a man who operates a Lonely Hearts Club mail fraud.

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