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The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew,…
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The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew, Book 1) (edition 1991)

by Carolyn Keene, Russell H. Tandy (Illustrator), Sara Paretsky (Introduction)

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4,265831,685 (3.77)87
Member:Jade_Rose
Title:The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew, Book 1)
Authors:Carolyn Keene
Other authors:Russell H. Tandy (Illustrator), Sara Paretsky (Introduction)
Info:Applewood Books (1991), Edition: Facsimile, Hardcover, 210 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***
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The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene

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Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
A little over a year ago I read 'Secret of the Old Clock' and mentioned being intrigued, but not necessarily interested in reading the original versions of the classic juvenile detective novels. Of course, in a year's time I've become convinced I need to not only read the old volumes, but to collect them, too.

The Stratemeyer Syndicate under Harriet Adams, the daughter of the man who invented the ghostwritten series and 'Nan' Drew, began revising the series from 1959 to 1976. They were intended to address issues of racism and xenophobia as well as the problem, apparently, of Nancy Drew being an entirely too willful girl. Changes needed to be made if the series was to survive, I wholeheartedly agree, but much of the descriptive language was cut out and plots were simplified, when not altogether altered.

'The Secret of the Old Clock' lost many pages, but not the plot. Nancy Drew is the courageous girl out to solve crimes and right wrong, daughter of Carson Drew and all-around capable woman. In the revised edition she rescues a little tyke who runs in front of a speeding vehicle and befriends two poor, elderly women who are taking care of the girl after her parents died in a boat explosion. They express their disappointment in being left out of the will of a wealthy relative.

In the original there is no boat explosion. No little tyke, either. Nancy learns of the speculated missing will from her father over breakfast, and an encounter with two snobby social climbers who are the daughters of the man who will inherit without the will. The family is obviously new money and their behavior makes Nancy dig in her heels and make sure somebody, anybody else gets the money instead of them.

Other characters stay the same, but Nancy's relationship with them is altered. An odd change is that a pair of young sisters - genteelly poor and kind in contrast to the snobs - have their dream changed from getting seed money to start them in tailoring and farming respectively in the original, to getting damn singing lessons in the revision is baffling. What is wrong with working for a living?

This original book is far superior in every respect, until Nancy accepts an invitation from her friend Helen Corning (No Bess and George, yet) to a camp getaway, but sneaks away to sleuth and gets into trouble. Its not getting into trouble that's the matter. Nancy interrupts a robbery at a lake house and is locked away by the crooks. She is found later by the black caretaker who has an "alcoholic glitter" in his eyes, Prohibition was still in effect in 1930. The caretaker had been given alcohol by the crooks and then locked in a shed to be kept out of the way. There's some unfortunate dialogue and Nancy delivers a lecture and...let's not go into it.

To solve her case Nancy hides evidence from the police, avoids gunfire, and in the end enjoys seeing the downfall of the social climbers as much as helping out the poor friends and relations who desperately needed the money from will. This Nancy is flawed, but I like her a lot.

Next: 'The Hidden Staircase' ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 21, 2019 |
I'm sorely tempted to revisit other Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew titles now, but I'll probably let the impulse pass. Nancy Drew, a bright girl with convertible from dad, witnesses a toddler nearly get run down by a motorist and befriends the elderly sisters who allowed the girl to run in the street. It comes out that they have financial troubles and were disappointed when the will of a family member left everything to their wealthy, snobby cousins. It happens that there may have been another will, but its impossible to know where it is. Nancy is determined to find out and interviews others associated with the will. She wants to help them and spite the spoiled girls who stand to inherit.

I read the more commonly available revised version of The Secret of the Old Clock, but I read up on the changes that had been made in the late 1950s to make the story more accessible to young readers and to mollify those parents who might object to a healthy dose of 1920s racism. This series, along with The Hardy Boys, underwent some radical changes to bring their characters in line with the principles, for better or for worse, of the day.

Frankly, the history of the changes made to the series and the contractually anonymous writers who made it happen, were more interesting than the story itself. There is some clever sleuthing and red herrings along the way, but its hard to read these stories with the same enthusiasm I did as a kid.

I read the first Hardy Boys mystery, The Tower Treasure, at the same time and had similar feelings. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
"Nancy Drew's keen mind is tested when she searches for a missing will." Source: The flip side of the book's title page.
  uufnn | Nov 15, 2018 |
An artifact from the 1950s - I've yet to find or compare the 1930s edition. I recall reading at least a hundred of the Hardy Boys when I was a wee lad, but the enjoyment was not as visceral as with this first Nancy Drew - it'll likely end up being a passing fancy. ( )
  morbusiff | Sep 20, 2018 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carolyn Keeneprimary authorall editionscalculated
Benson, Mildred Wirtsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paretsky, SaraIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tandy, Russell H.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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[1930 edition] It would be a shame if all that money went to the Tophams!
[1959 edition] Nancy Drew, an attractive girl of eighteen, was driving home along a country road in her new, dark-blue convertible.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0448095017, Hardcover)

Nancy Drew's keen mind is tested when she searches for a missing will.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:34 -0400)

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Nancy Drew's keen mind is tested when she searches for a missing will.

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