This week I decided to take a break for Great North Road and write about another book that I have read recently. I’m not normally one for having multiple books on the go but one thing you may have noticed about Great North Road is that it is huge! It’s not exactly something that you can slip into your bag to read on the way to work. So while I’ve been out and about, I’ve been working through the backlog of unread books on my kindle. This week, I’ve been reading a book that was originally published in 1930 to act as the female equivalent of the Hardy Boys. Since then the series has been carried on by many different writers and revised and revisited countless times. This week, I read: Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Old Clock.
After Nancy meets some poor relatives of the recently deceased Josiah Crawleys, she sets out to find out if there is a yet undiscovered Will leaving them the money and assistance that he had promised. Along the way, she tackles thieves and the rather unpleasant Topham sisters.
Originally, Nancy Drew was created to provide girls with a strong female role model. You can see this objective throughout the book with countless descriptions of Nancy and the rest of the characters as attractive, intelligent, kind and incredibly handy in practically any situation. Obviously Nancy can change a tire and steer a motor boat, can’t you?
It’s really clear when this story was written and what a strong female role model was considered to be at that time. At first I found this slightly off-putting. I can’t say exactly why but there was something about how perfect Nancy was made out to be and what this definition of perfect appeared to be that made me slightly uncomfortable. I think that it centred on the way that the writer, in an attempt to provide this role model centres primarily on Nancy’s appearance rather than her abilities. After a while however, once the setting and characters had been established, I started to find it rather charming and quaint. At the very least, it was a nice insight into the time period in which the story was written. There are sections that are slightly clunky but I think that can be put down to this being the first book in the series. After a couple of chapters, the writing settled down and the flow improved considerably.
I personally never read any of the Nancy Drew books as a child so this is my first experience of them. I did however read many mystery stories so feel like I have a decent amount of experience with this sort of story. The plot itself was pretty basic but interesting enough if not quite unrealistic (but then, it you’re reading for escapism, who needs it to be realistic?). It certainly kept me entertained for a couple of hours so I am going to give this book: 3/5 (in keeping with the setting) magnifying glasses.