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The Clue in the Diary by Carolyn Keene

The Clue in the Diary (1932)

by Carolyn Keene

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Nancy Drew (7)

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The Clue In The Diary, by Carolyn Keene
★★★ and 1/2

This was yet another Nancy Drew mystery. I figured it would be a quick read but it took me longer than expected because as an adult I kept getting bored. But I loved this series when I was a kid, so for nostalgia's sake, I rate this book 3.5 stars.
Nancy Drew is definitely a character that young girls could look up to. She's nice, responsible, loyal, and inquisitive. The books are sweet and fun, and always end with a happy resolve. It's a book series that I would strongly recommend to any kid daughter, but I don't think adults would be quite as passionate about these books if they were reading it for the first time. ( )
  Spirolim | Jan 13, 2016 |
In the 1931 edition, Nancy and her "girlfriends", the plump Bess and the tomboyish George, see a country mansion burn to the ground, and discover nearby a diary written in Swedish. The mansion's wealthy owner Felix Raybolt is missing, and evidence of arson (and possibly murder) points to Joe Swenson, whom Raybolt had swindled. Nancy figures out what really happened, and singlehandedly makes things right again -- forcing Raybolt to renumerate the people he's cheated, and helping to pull the poor Swenson family out of poverty. Meanwhile Nancy attracts as a boyfriend a student at the nearby college.

Volumes could be written (and no doubt have been) about this sort of work from a sociological standpoint. (Why is there an emphasis on the fact that the poverty-stricken family was Swedish... was that a feature of the 1930s? Was it carried into modern editions?)

As for the characters, Bess is always eating or thinking about her next meal, and two sentences into this book, she's gulping down her fifth chicken sandwich. Her female cousin "George" seems to be an odd figure for 1931: she's adopted a man's name, dresses in men's clothing, keeps her dark hair as short as possible (and never combs or brushes it), and shows no interest in men. Did the underpaid writers who invented her (under the pseudonym "Carolyn Keene") have something mildly subversive in mind, or was the character simply constructed as a contrast to Nancy and Bess, to give tomboyish girl readers someone to identify with? Whatever it was, by the 1960s, George had been developed into a more feminine character, with short, bouncy curls.

Despite large holes in the plot and larger implausibilities, this story is harmless entertainment. Tales of its ilk no doubt inspired generations of female enthusiasts to seek to be more like Nancy -- clever, independent, and able to outwit the male villains amongst us. And those who could not aspire to Nancydom could gain solace by identifying with Nancy's pals Bess and "George." ( )
2 vote danielx | Apr 17, 2015 |
4 1/2 stars ( )
  vagabond | Apr 4, 2015 |
AUTHOR: Keene, Carolyn
TITLE: The Clue in the Diary
DATE READ: 04/09/14
GENRE/PUB DATE/PUBLISHER/# OF PGS: Mystery/1932/Simon &Shuster/202 pgs
TIME/PLACE: 1930's/ IL
CHARACTERS: Nancy Drew/girl detective

FIRST LINES: "Why do you stare at me in such a fascinated way, Nancy Drew?" Plump Bess Marvin, divining the trend of her chum's unexpressed thought, smiled good-naturedly & reached for her 5th chicken sandwich. She had always maintained that picnics were not intended for persons with delicate appetites.

COMMENTS: Driving home from a picnic w/ her friends, Nancy stops to see a burning house. She sees a man fleeing from the house & also picks up a dropped diary. Altho' in a foreign language she holds onto this hoping it will hold a clue to who the man was that fled the burning home. These are always fun books for me. ( )
  pammykn | Apr 21, 2014 |
Nancy Drew finds a Clue in a Diary - unfortunately the diary is written in Swedish and the person she knows who can translate it is so sick he's hospitalized but this doesn't deter Nancy.
A quick synopsis -Nancy and her friends George and Bess, meet a woman with a little girl at a carnival who are financially desperate. On the way home they spot a fire, while George and Bess drive to a neighbor's house, Nancy runs up to the house and tries to rescue anyone who might be trapped. Instead she sees a man running away, finds a diary, has her car rear-ended and meets her boyfriend Ned Nickerson. Ned finds a signet ring with a D on it and calls Nancy to ask if it's her - that set Nancy all a twitter. The man turns out to be the lost husband/father of the woman and her daughter. He's a good guy, but the checks he's been sending home have been getting stolen. Nancy solves that crime too. But now he's a accued of setting the fire and killing the homeowner. Nancy sets a trap and along with Bess and George figures out the mystery. Her father and Ned show up just in time to head off the real villian as Nancy is chasing him.

This book is quite obviously written by a third writer. I found some discrepencies from the previous books. The most glaring of these is that Ned is mentioned in book 5. Bess makes a comment that Ned is returning home and that he is Nancy's boyfriend. But in book 7, Nancy meets Ned for the first time.

In previous books, the emphasis has felt more like feminism. In fact in the first couple of books, Nancy doesn't need a man to help her and barely needs a female side-kick. She is a role model of the independent young woman. In book 7, every time Ned is mentioned she gets giddy. She runs home to get dressed up for their dates, after he calls, she dances around the room. It's a wonder Nancy can stay focused enough to solve the mystery.

Also gone this time are the lengthy descriptions of meals. Hannah Gruen is still a fabulous cook and can just whip up a cake from scratch so Nancy can serve Ned cake and ice cream. The book also doesn't spend so much time describing the clothes that are worn.

By now, I have some questions. How old is Nancy? She's out of high school and her friend Helen was a few years older than she was. I always thought she was probably 18 or 19. If Hannah Gruen practically raised Nancy and they are so affectionate, why do the Drews still treat her like a servant? Where is River Heights? I know it's suppose to be a fictional city, but what state is it located in? The books mention Mr. Drew going to Cleveland and taking the train to Chicago - so my guess is that it's someplace in Illinois, Indiana or possibly Wisconsin.

Next question, why doesn't Nancy or any of her friends have jobs? If they're suppose to be independet women, you'd think they would have jobs at least in a department store. And why doesn't Nancy attend college? Her father has the money and he himself is edcuated, but by book 7 she is just tooling around in her convertible solving mysteries and not being paid.

Well, it's off to book 8. ( )
  TamiHindes | Apr 27, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carolyn Keeneprimary authorall editionscalculated
Maron, MargaretIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tandy, Russell H.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"A penny for your thoughts, Nancy Drew," said George Fayne.
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Nancy witnesses the malicious burning of a stately home, and becomes convinced of the prime suspect's innocence.

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