Saturday, November 10, 2012

E-Reading: Book Review of #6 The Secret of the Red Gate Farm by Carolyn Keene

Name of Book: The Secret of the Red Gate Farm

Author: Carolyn Keene

ISBN: 9780448095066

Publisher: Grosset and Dunlap

Part of a Series: Nancy Drew Mysteries

Type of book: Oriental, offensive, nature cult, counterfeiting, passive, farm, boarders, young adult

Year it was published: 1931


When Bess Marvin purchased an expensive bottle of Oriental perfume, she never expected to stumble into a mystery. Now Bess, Nancy, George, and their new friend Jo are out to unravel the secrets of a mysterious conspiracy, a secretive cult, and a ring of counterfeiters in The Secret of Red Gate Farm.


Predictable as always, although I couldn't for the life of me understand the whole code system, and I'm beginning to really have a hard time believing that these things couldn't be solved until Nancy comes along. The evil characters are very one dimensional and are evil because they are evil. The good characters are good. There really is nothing to talk about them. While I admire Nancy's desire to help everyone, I can't help but wonder because the books were written shortly and during Great Depression Era. Why isn't Nancy worrying about money and whatnot?


No idea. Its pure entertainment value, as well as very ridiculous due to the whole mystery of Blue Jade perfume. (Really? Jade? Why would someone name the perfume after *ahem* a stone?)


Third person narrative from Nancy's point of view. I found the ending very gripping but other things and elements not so much. For me personally it was boring and a frustrating read.

Author Information:

Children's Books, Mystery & Thrillers

About this author

Carolyn Keene is a writer pen name that was used by many different people- both men and women- over the years. The company that was the creator of the Nancy Drew series, the Stratemeyer Syndicate, hired a variety of writers. For Nancy Drew, the writers used the pseudonym Carolyn Keene to assure anonymity of the creator.

Edna and Harriet Stratemeyer inherited the company from their father Edward Stratemeyer. Edna contributed 10 plot outlines before passing the reins to her sister Harriet. It was Mildred A. Wirt Benson, who breathed such a feisty spirit into Nancy's character. Mildred wrote 23 of the original 30 Nancy Drew Mystery Stories®, including the first three. It was her characterization that helped make Nancy an instant hit. The Stratemeyer Syndicate's devotion to the series over the years under the reins of Harriet Stratemeyer Adams helped to keep the series alive and on store shelves for each succeeding generation of girls and boys. In 1959, Harriet, along with several writers, began a 25-year project to revise the earlier Carolyn Keene novels. The Nancy Drew books were condensed, racial stereotypes were removed, and the language was updated. In a few cases, outdated plots were completely rewritten.

Other writers of Nancy Drew volumes include Harriet herself, she wrote most of the series after Mildred quit writing for the Syndicate and in 1959 began a revision of the first 34 texts. The role of the writer of "Carolyn Keene" passed temporarily to Walter Karig who wrote three novels during the Great Depression. Also contributing to Nancy Drew's prolific existence were Leslie McFarlane, James Duncan Lawrence, Nancy Axelrod, Priscilla Doll, Charles Strong, Alma Sasse, Wilhelmina Rankin, George Waller Jr., and Margaret Scherf.


Originally it was three stars due to the suspense, but then I remembered how certain things made me feel offended, thus I dropped it down to two stars. I'm talking in particular to Blue Jade perfume as well as the use of the word "oriental" which denotes exotic, and the idea that just because Yvonne Chang? has a French name she is part French! Nope. She could be full Chinese but her parents might have named her Yvonne to help her fit in. The idea of a perfume being used used by mysterious cult and whatnot, as well as exoticising certain elements leaves a really bad taste in my stomach.

2 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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