Monday, March 18, 2013

Book Report: The Hidden Staircase

Yes, it's time for Nancy Drew! Even though the writing styles are vastly different, "The Girl Detective" (from last week) and The Hidden Staircase fit quite well together. Absent mothers, secret passages, paunchy middle-aged men with secrets, concerned housekeepers, dress up, dancing, and super-nosey young ladies....

Honestly, I haven't read much Nancy Drew. This comes as a surprise (for me more than anyone!) because it seems like I would have devoured Nancy Drew as a pre-teen. I was probably working my way through Fear Street and all the Christopher Pike and Richie Tankersley Cusick books (OMG, she's written books since 1996! I wonder what's happened since the Silent Stalker and Someone at the Door days...). However, I did own at least one of the young sleuth's books: The Secret of the Old Clock. Unfortunately, I don't remember what the secret might have been. Horrible of me!

As the girls went from room to room in the cellar, Nancy beamed her flashlight over every inch of wall and floor. At times, the young sleuth's pulse would quicken when she thought she had discovered a trap door or secret opening. But each time she had to admit failure--there was no evidence of either one in the cellar.

"This has been a discouraging day," Nancy remarked, sighing. "But I'm not giving up."

Helen felt sorry for her friend. To cheer Nancy, she said with a laugh, "Storeroom after storeroom but no room to store a ghost!"  --Carolyn Keene

I'm not sure one book (plus that first book when I was thirteen or whatever) gives me enough of an idea  of the Nancy Drew universe to make recommendations, but I'm going to anyway. I think that I Capture the Castle would be up your alley, dear Nancy Drew lovers. I'm also going to throw Charlotte's Web into the mix, and suggest that you read Life Among the Savages by perennial Nicolai sister favorite, Shirley Jackson. It's nonfiction, but it evokes the same Nancy Drew time period, and it seems to fit somehow. Then again, I'm always trying to make everyone read Shirley Jackson. Slightly nefarious happenings in recommendation-land...

And now a dilemma. I don't know what to read or write about next week! Any suggestions for books or stories with a female detective lead? I'm at a loss. Help please!

1. "Curious Life", by Rachel Kertz; 2. Flowerhill drive, at the University of Montavello; 3. Red brick mansion, via Sarah Belle; 4. Winchester Mystery House bedroom, by Raymond on Flickr; 5. Crystal chandelier, via A Touch of Crimson; 6. Dad's Antique Wardrobe, by The French Bedroom Company; 7. "Casual Friday", by A Noble Savage; 8. Knotted belt, by Swampy August Dawn; 9. Buffalo loafers, by Classy Girls Wear Pearls; 10. Current/Elliott Spring 2012, via Rhapsodic Musings; 11. Owl portrait by Jean-Simon B, via The Swag Owl; 12. Candles in brass holders, via Rejoice Always.

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