Monday, June 30, 2008

Nancy's Mysterious Letter (1932)

This book title stuck out to me in my childhood because I remember it as being the only Nancy Drew book that didn't have "The Clue of..." or "The Case of..." or "The Mystery of..." in its title. I don't know if that's accurate or not. But in any case, I did not remember the plot at all. Perhaps because it is insanely boring.

Blogger refuses to upload photos today, which sucks lots because cover time is seriously the best. If you want to look as I discuss, check them here...

So famous original cover has Nancy looking 1930s foxy at the Emerson College football game. Although that coat is fur and not cruelty free. Shame, Nancy. I think this might also qualify as the only time more than 3 people have appeared on a Nancy Drew cover.

Next we have the cover in which the mysterious letter makes an appearance. Please notice Nancy's eyes on the cover...THEY ARE NOT BLUE! Sorry for the CAPS, but as we are forced to hear about Nancy's blue eyes several times per book, is it really so much to ask that the cover artist not make them BROWN?

Finally, the weirdest cover of all. Nancy standing in front of a letter. You will notice this style of cover in several of the reprints. Same lazy cover artist that can't be bothered to actually portray a scene from the book.

Also, feel free to scroll up to the covers for The Secret to Red Gate Farm and notice that is looks like Nancy has uncovered the gayest KKK rally ever.

Book time. Like I said, this book is crazy boring. Lots of 1930s football talk. I mean, sorry Carolyn, but preteen girls are not reading your mystery novels for the football talk, okay? We open with Nancy, Bess, and George arriving back at Nancy's house after a visit to Red Gate Farm. We are reminded that in the previous book, Nancy solved the secret of Red Gate Farm. Now, as her reward, she has apparently received a car full of produce and dressed ducks. I don't know. By page 2 we have the first "Bess loves to eat" reference, which may be a record. We learn that it is alomst Novemeber, and the weather is very chilly, which makes me wonder how Nancy procured so much fresh summer produce. Hannah offers the girls cocoa and cakes, which Bess pounces upon. As they are eating, the mailman arrives and Nancy invites him in to enjoy the cocoa. You know, since it is so cold outside yet strawberries are in season. So the mailman comes in, leaving his mail bag on the porch. Cocoa is enjoyed, cakes are eaten, and much talk is made about it being the mailman's last day. When the mailman finally leaves, he realizes the mail has been stolen from Nancy's front porch.. This is his own damn fault, because how hard would it have been to carry the stupid mail bag inside, but whatever. Nancy decides it was her fault, because she is a martyr, and she goes down to the post office with her mailman to defend his negligence.

The postmaster blames Nancy too, because he is also an idiot. He yells at her until some random person walks by and tells the postmaster that he is speaking with THE Nancy Drew, daughter of THE Carson Drew. So the postmaster obviously backpedals, suddenly bending over backwards to be as nice to Nancy and her mailman as possible. Because she is Nancy Drew.

Nancy returns home, where she left Bess and George, and offers them some of the Red Gate Farm produce before they leave, Bess lays claim to as much as possible, because "...her plump curves idicated a much heartier appetite than that of her slim friends." Nancy drives the girls home, being sure to remark that the cousins' homes were much more modest than her own. Bitch.

Nancy returns home and eats the 7 course meal that Hannah has prepared for her and her father. We are told that she eats a great deal of food, but no mention is made of her fatness. Ned Nickerson arrives, which makes me laugh, because Ned is a total loser. I can't wait until I recap some of the books where Nancy cheats on him. Ned has come over to invite Nancy to the Emerson homecoming weekend, complete with football game. This is where the book slides rapidly downhill, and I'm sorry if I skip large chunks, but trust me, you're all the better for it. Because Ned only talks about football from this point on, and Nancy spends as much time commenting on how pretty she is as she does working on her mystery, and its crazy boring.

Speaking of mysteries, Nancy finally gets around to opening her letter sometime around page 50. It is addressed to Nancy S. Drew and mentions an inheritance in England. Nancy knows this letter is not for her, as she has no middle name and she is positive about her paternity. Although I am not. I would like to pretend that Carson is not really Nancy's father, because it makes it a little less icky when they almost make out in every single book.

So, Nancy's mystery is to find the missing heiress. Who wants to bet that out of all the Nancy Drews in America, another one lives very near River Heights and is the missing heiress? Also, Nancy wants to clear the name of her mailman, and prove that the missing bag of mail was not caused by his negligence, even though it very clearly was. How about a bet on the likelyhood that both these mysteries will intertwine somehow?

I'm sorry. I love Nancy and all but this book is not holding my attention. Also, I have cramps. So I'll cut to the chase, outline the awesome bits, and call it a night.

Awesome moment where somebody calls Nancy on her behavior (page 67):
"I'll bet your father has to sweat to keep you decked out in clothes and cars so you can hop around sticking your nose in other folks affairs!" Um...yup.

Number of times Ned's awesomeness as a quarterback is mentioned: 17 (Seriously)

Number of times Nancy decides she is the awesomest girl in the room: 4

Number of times we are remended Bess is not awesome because she is a fatty: 9

Awesomest place where Nancy and her father behave inappropriately close: the breakfast table in front of Hannah

Number of minority groups that portrayed as unintelligent and not awesome: 12 (9 of these at a costume party, where, in the company of "pirates, siamese twins, fat men, and black-faces galore" Nancy offends Hindus everywhere and wins first prize. Obviously.)

Number of cases Nancy solves aweseomly: 2

Number of people that thank anybody but Nancy for their awesome help: 0

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