And, seemingly in honor of this momentous occasion, this book is pretty boring. There’s only one explosion and that’s right at the beginning, no one gets kidnapped, there’s no body-switching, no one goes anywhere near the water… what’s going on, writers? I kind of like it! This book is more like The Secret of the Old Clock — in fact, very like it. Nancy gets attached to a cute little girl and wants to help her family out, and when it turns out that there’s a mystery around why the girl and her mother aren’t getting money from the father, who is meant to be working in another town, Nancy is totally on the case. The melodramatic writers, not to be left out, have thrown in the explosion at the beginning and a convoluted patent-stealing operation, but the main focus of the story is classic clue-finding and mystery solving, not running from counterfeiters. And, of course, the mystery gets easily wrapped up by full confessions from everyone involved, which is delightfully quaint!
However, things are only going downhill for Nancy’s bad-ass-ness. After being rescued by a man at the end of the last novel, it seems no one wants to let Nancy do her thing anymore, and now that Ned’s on the scene it looks like he’s going to be Nancy’s default bodyguard. Mrs. Gruen even says at one point, “Shouldn’t you take a man with you?” Crap. If Nancy starts turning into Bess, I’m going to be less than pleased.
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