Adventures in Reading

Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene
“In the brief second of warning, the truck almost seemed to leap toward the water. Nancy and her father, hemmed in by the concrete piers had no way to escape being run down. … Without hesitation, he and Nancy made running flat dives into the water, and with arms flailing and legs kicking, swam furiously out of harm’s way” (18). From Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase by Carolyn Keene.

The second installment of the Nancy Drew series The Hidden Staircase makes The Secret of the Old Clock look like a walk through the park. Nancy is recruited to solve a mystery of a “haunted” house while her father simultaneously receives threats from a man trying to leach money from the railroad company.

I have to admit that book two was fairly disappointing. While The Secret of the Old Clock may not have had the most unpredictable plot line, The Hidden Staircase is soon solved within the first few chapters. The reader then spends the remaining chapters dully flipping through pages as Nancy and her friend Helen run up and down stairs and tap on walls trying to find a secret room.

During this process Nancy’s father is kidnapped and rather than contact the FBI the local police rely on Nancy to help with the case. It’s a fun story but a stretch at nearly 200 pages. Some of the perks of The Hidden Staircase is further character development with Nancy through exploring more of her non-sleuth life than The Secret of the Old Clock dips into and her relationships with other people. Nancy kicks off the book with a date and the reader becomes acquainted with her friend Helen.

The Hidden Staircase has less “objectionable” material than the previous novel in the series but still develops a sense of good values. A fun read, but my fingers are crossed that the Nancy Drew series doesn’t continue in this downward process.

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