Title: The Mystery at Lilac InnNancy Drew #4 - The Mystery at Lilac Inn
Author: Carolyn Keene
Pages: 180
Reading Level: 9-12
Star Rating: ★★★★

Nobody’s gonna believe this, but this is the first Nancy Drew mystery I’ve ever read…

The Story.

Nancy and her friend, Helen, are going to visit their mutual friend, Emily, at her newly acquired business, Lilac Hotel. Emily is soon to married and Nancy and Helen are both bridesmaids in the wedding – they have a lot of planning to do!

But strange things are happening at Lilac Inn. Tools are disappearing, a bomb is set off in Nancy’s cabin, and – most importantly – Emily’s diamonds are stolen. Add to this the fact that someone is impersonating Nancy and there have been mysterious ‘ghost’ sightings around the hotel, and that makes a fairly complete mystery!

Can Nancy discover the identity of her look-alike and recover Emily’s diamonds?

Discussion.

I grew up on the Boxcar Children Series. Lived and breathed ‘em. Yet I never read a Nancy Drew book. Don’t ask me why. I had the rather vague impression that they were evil. Again, don’t ask me why.

So, the other day I was at a Goodwill where hardcovers were four for a dollar and softcovers eight for a dollar. Even if you had less than the full number (i.e., three softcovers or six hardcovers), the price was not altered. I fell short of a complete set and thought, “Hey, why not try out a Nancy Drew book? It won’t cost me any extra money!” So, I did. And much to my surprise, it wasn’t horrible.

True, Nancy does a lot of unsupervised running-around-the-country. But she does so with the full consent of her dad. She reports her findings back to him and asks him for advice. She places great store by her father’s wisdom as a judge of character and is always happy to see him. She even asks permission from him when John McBride asks her to go skin diving with him.

Speaking of whom, there is a mild – very mild – romantic interest there. They really have more of a friendship than a romance. He says he thinks she’s a very nice girl. She tells her father she likes him. On the last page, while discussing their weddings Helen says,

“You must be tired of hearing us talk about steady partners when—“

Nancy interrupted. Laughing gaily, she said, “Not at all. For the present, my steady partner is going to be mystery!” [pg. 180]

In one scene, Nancy and Helen lie about who they are in order to extract information concerning a criminal.

Conclusion. Not bad. Perhaps not the best use of time for children, but not injurious.

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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