Book Review: Nancy’s Mysterious Letter by Carolyn Keene

This is the first Nancy Drew book I ever read—I wrote an earlier post about that
time.  (See “Two Words _____ ____” October 13, 2011)

(Left click photo for enlargement, hit back button to return to this text.)

In a nutshell,  Nancy receives a mysterious letter from England, a mailman’s pouch is stolen,  and Ned invites her to his college football weekend.

Ah, the invitation to a college weekend involves shopping to get ready!  Nancy will be wearing her raccoon coat, but needs a sporty little hat to wear to the game.  A saleslady
helps her select a “snug-fitting felt hat of a deep rusty brown”–and they add a “pair of quills in burnt orange color emerging from a fluff of violet down”– to highlight Emerson’s school colors of orange and violet.   Cute!  (see photo)

Thrifty Nancy has decided to wear her deep yellow evening gown to the dance, “with a corsage of violets”,  so she only needs to purchase a matching pair of “silk dancing pumps.”  She is set.  “Nancy proved herself to be a real girl, in that buying good-
looking clothes gave her a great thrill.”   Nancy will be in high fashion at the game and the dance!

So!  Ned’s PARENTS offer to take Nancy to the out-of-town Emerson campus (Carson Drew has to be away on business . . .)  Nancy has never met the parents.  When was the first time you met your husband’s parents?

Edith and James Nickerson arrive on Nancy’s sycamore lined street—James is about 45 or 50 Nancy estimates, and has iron gray hair.  And  Mrs. N, Edith, is tiny and has snowy white hair.  I figure raising Ned must have been a nightmare or something.  They’re a little young for all the white hair!  Nancy, kindly, thinks that Edith’s is probably premature.  Nancy climbs into the back seat —Mrs. N. arranges a “rug” over her knees, and they’re off.

Ned, modestly, has admitted that he probably won’t get to play since he’s only a sophomore—but believe it or not–he DOES get to play and is the star player!  He manages to fool the other team by concealing the ball “between his knees” while the fake plays were being run.  I find this just a teensy bit hard to fathom, but—what do I know about football?

Anyway, this reminds me of a time when I was in high school and I went with my boyfriend’s parents (and him) in their big Buick to New York City for the day.

We lived in upstate New York, and it was about a six hour drive.  There was nothing more thrilling than a trip to New York!  (Still isn’t.)   I can still remember the feeling of that big back seat in that car–like sitting in a living room.

We went to Macy’s (oh, a dream come true) and I bought a red v-necked orlon sweater for, I think, $4.95.  How proud I was of that sweater!   New York!  Fashion!    We ate at an Italian restaurant and drove the six hours back, didn’t stay overnight.

And another memory, that same boyfriend went off to college while I was still in high school, and he invited me to a dance at his school in Vermont.  It was about two hours away.  My brother drove me to the dance, waited for me, and drove me back home.  I don’t remember what I wore, or a thing about the dance—-just remember how nice it was of my brother to take me.

So, driving with a boyfriend’s parents—going to a out-of-town college dance.  I could relate a little bit with Nancy, again.

The best part of The Mysterious Letter is in getting to know the Nickersons.  He has a little bit of a sense of dry humor—-Edith is very nice.  Just what you might want in some future in-laws!

Reread it tonight.

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1 Response to Book Review: Nancy’s Mysterious Letter by Carolyn Keene

  1. booksilver says:

    Great post! If you look carefully on that cover illustration, you can see that Nancy’s wearing a green dress — to go with the orange and purple and rust? Seems like she’s got kind of a lot going on there! Trust Nancy to carry it off with aplomb, though.

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