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The Clue in the Diary by Carolyn Keene

The Clue in the Diary (original 1932; edition 1932)

by Carolyn Keene (Author)

Series: Nancy Drew (7)

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2,081195,654 (3.79)9
Nancy uses a lost diary to exonerate an innocent prisoner.
Title:The Clue in the Diary
Authors:Carolyn Keene (Author)
Info:Grosset & Dunlap (1932), Edition: Revised, 202 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Clue in the Diary by Carolyn Keene (1932)


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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
A solid missing-person mystery related to helping a family in need. As an added bonus, we meet Ned Nickerson for the very first time, and he likes mystery just as much as Nancy! ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
[This is a review I wrote in 2016]

The Clue in the Diary – Nancy Drew Mystery No. 7

It’s been a very long time since I last read a Nancy Drew story – I would have been around 9 years old and borrowing them from my local library, along with many, many other books which I devoured, particularly in the school holidays.

I have always loved books with a passion and, although I didn’t have very many, the books that I owned as a child are the ones that were re-read and they are the stories that stayed with me most vividly. I remember borrowing the Nancy Drew stories – I even have a visual memory of the carousel in Daventry Library that housed them – but I can’t remember anything more about them… that is, until now.

The Clue in the Diary is the 7th Nancy Drew mystery and features Nancy with her friends, the cousins George and Bess, and her new friend Ned Nickerson. Together the three girls, with a bit of help from Ned, are trying to solve the mystery of a diary and signet ring found at the site of a burning house which the girls saw on their way home one night. They stopped at the scene to see if they could help. Nancy saw a man fleeing the scene into the undergrowth and the diary and signet ring were found soon afterwards…

I thoroughly enjoyed this quite undemanding but entertaining read. I’ve recently re-read a number of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five stories. This is very similar but (and I never thought I’d say this) not quite as well written or as well plotted as a Famous Five. Still, the characterisation is very good, the novel well-plotted and I enjoyed it very much. Although Nancy drives a car and has had boy friends, this is perfectly suitable for 8 and up and is equally suitable for teenagers and beyond looking for a lightweight read.

About the Series:

Set in America the first four novels in the series were published in 1930. The original series kept running until 2003 with 175 novels published in total. The main character has also appeared in spin off series The Girl Detective, The Nancy Drew Files and is the heroine in the Diaries series as well. The author, Carolyn Keene, is the pen name for a number of different writers used to write the books. ( )
  ArdizzoneFan | Nov 20, 2020 |
Returning home to Riverside Heights after attending a carnival in nearby Sandy Creek, teen sleuth Nancy Drew and her best friends Bess Marvin and George Faine are driving by when an explosion rocks the Raybolt mansion, and the building goes up in flames. The girls rush to the scene to see if help is needed, and Nancy witnesses a man running away. She picks up the diary he dropped, and immediately suspects that she has stepped into another mystery. So it proves, as Nancy seeks to identify the mystery man, and once she does, to determine whether he is guilty of arson, and possibly murder. Complicating matters is the fact that she has formed an attachment to the wife and daughter of her main suspect, inventor Joe Swenson, not to mention the reality that Felix Raybolt was an unscrupulous cheat who tricked many people out of their money and patents...

The seventh entry in the long-running Nancy Drew Mystery Stories series, which has been one of the great staples of American girlhood since it first began to appear in 1930, The Clue in the Diary was initially published by Grosset & Dunlap in 1932. In 1962 it was revised and condensed, like all the original Nancy Drew books - the vocabulary and settings updated, and particularly egregious social content (racism, classism, etc.) removed. Unfortunately, so too were five chapters of story, the period terms (roadsters, chums), and a great deal of the charm of the writing. As mentioned in some of my reviews of the other books in the series, although I did read Nancy Drew as a young girl, it was only when I discovered the originals as an adult reader, that I truly began to find the stories interesting. Somehow, the revised versions of the 1950s/60s always felt bland and uninspiring to me, when reading them as a girl. These original versions, by contrast, have more interesting historical settings, and are better written. The edition I read for my current rereading project was published by Applewood Books in 1995, and is a facsimile of the original first edition, and contains the full, unexpurgated text.

All in all, I found this an enjoyable entry in the series. There's plenty of coincidence, as always, and Nancy makes snap judgments about people's character after brief conversations with them, but overall the story is engaging. We meet Ned Nickerson for the first time - I believe he appears earlier in the series, in the revised versions - and Nancy is immediately smitten, which I found rather charming, given her complete indifference to romance in earlier books. I was amused, no doubt in ways not intended by the author, by Nancy's defiance of the forces of law and order here, as, having decided that Joe Swenson is innocent, she attempts to help him elude the police officers she knows are looking for him. Nancy knows best, after all, and one can't rely on these pompous bunglers to get it right! Somehow, I have a hard time imagining that being retained in the revised version. I'm quite interested to read the next entry in the series, Nancy's Mysterious Letter, as it was the first Nancy Drew book not written by Mildred Wirt Benson, who was the author of most of the first twenty-five books. ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Jul 14, 2020 |
Returning home from a carnival with George and Bess, Nancy only has time to briefly admire a house they pass before it bursts into flames. The girls are the first people on the scene, but the heat of the fire is so intense there's no question of getting inside to discover if there are people trapped inside.

Going around to the back of the house Nancy spots a man fleeing into the woods and finds a diary. From the crowd that gathers around the building Nancy learns that the property belongs to wealthy owners who are out of town, and there is little sympathy for the couple.

In the crush of cars leaving, Nancy meets a helpful young man named Ned Nickerson who is directing traffic away from the fire. It's bizarre to see Nancy, so indifferent to boys before, go head over heels so quickly over Ned. He's briefly a suspect, but not for long, even though some of his behavior is a little suspicious.This must have been the result of editorial interference as this is still the work of the original ghostwriter - though Mildred Wirt Benson would take a hiatus from the series for a few volumes after this.

The writing is still more vivid then the revised versions I remember from when I was a kid, but my complaint is still the reliance on coincidence. I'd like to see Nancy do a little more sleuthing, please. I actually liked the doting attention on Honey Swenson, the daughter of the main suspect in the arson case and who COINCIDENTALLY Nancy and co. ran into at the carnival before the fire started. It's that pushy, do-gooding side of Nancy that makes her a little more human.

The revised version of the book, done in 1962, has most of the same plot elements. I don't remember, and the internet isn't helping, but I can't believe Nancy's speeding away from the cops was left in the revised version, either. Othereise, Nancy doesn't swoon for Ned in the beginning of their friendship and there was dance subtracted and a mail fraud plot added in - which is really weird because mail fraud is the heart of the plot of the next book - 'Nancy's Mysterious Letter'.

Nancy Drew

Next: 'Nancy's Mysterious Letter'

Previous: 'The Secret of Red Gate Farm' ( )
1 vote ManWithAnAgenda | Jul 25, 2019 |
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 |
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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 uses a lost diary to exonerate an innocent prisoner.

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When Nancy and her friends come upon an explosion and burning of a country mansion, they discover an anonymous diary filled with technical drawings and chemical formulas.

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