The Mystery at Lilac Inn, by Carolyn Keene

Okay, seriously, Nancy, stop going out on the water! This book begins with Nancy’s canoe getting overturned and ends with her imprisoned on a freakin’ miniature submarine. I don’t know what to do with this girl.

The melodrama heats up some more in this book and the plotlines start getting recycled — I don’t know how that’s possible four books into a series, but apparently it is. In one mystery, Nancy’s friend Emily is living in a haunted inn (see The Hidden Staircase) which is of course not really haunted but which is having bad things happen to it for not really a very good reason in the end. In the other, which is vaguely connected to the first, Nancy has a double (see the end of The Bungalow Mystery) who has stolen a bunch of her stuff and is making charges to her… not credit card, but whatever they had back in the 30s.

The bad stuff that happens to the inn is crazy — stuff gets stolen, employees quit, a time bomb is placed under Nancy’s cottage, a simulated earthquake almost knocks down the main building — and I don’t really know how the Keene writing team could possibly have made this seem like normal happenings in rural Illinois, but they made it work.

Rating: 6/10
(Nancy Drew Challenge, Support Your Local Library Challenge, A to Z Challenge)

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