Sunday, November 11, 2012

E-Reading: Book Review of #7 The Clue in the Diary by Carolyn Keene

Name of Book: The Clue in the Diary

Author: Carolyn Keene

ISBN: 9780807216767

Publisher: Grosset and Dunlap

Part of a Series: Nancy Drew Series

Type of book: Mystery, Swedish, immigrants, lost mail, puppy love, translation, helping out, young adult

Year it was published: 1932


Nancy and her friends witness an explosion and the burning of a beautiful country mansion. Fearing its occupants may be trapped in the blazing building, they rush to the rescue--and unexpectedly find themselves confronted with a mystery that seems insoluble. The first clue is an anonymous diary--its entries in a handwriting difficult to decipher. Who dropped the diary? Was it the stranger Nancy saw running away from the fire? What was he doing there? Finding out how Nancy discovers the answers to these questions makes for another exciting Nancy Drew mystery.


In this one Nancy knows a little bit of Swedish and yet once more she's right and correct and on target about everything. She also meets Ned in this book and seems to like him, although like always, mystery precedes boyfriend. (Hello female Sherlock Holmes.) The book was published in 1932, and during that the country was going through Great Depression. Why wasn't Nancy's family poor and suffered with the rest of the Americans? Somehow it left a bad taste in my stomach and I found it very disagreeable. Also everyone is so nice and sweet to the immigrants, and I'm surprised that Nancy never asks Joe Swenson to translate the diary for her!


This is written for entertainment value rather than life long lessons.


It's written from Nancy's point of view in third person narrative. The whole not including time has really bothered me, also is it normal for the books to really lack romance or hand-holding or kissing? I recall Laura Ingalls Wilder books contained some signs of attractions, and of Ma and Pa being affectionate and loving in their own way.

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.


Just a typical and normal Nancy Drew novel. I think this is one of the more interesting ones. I think the problem I'm beginning to have with Nancy Drew novels is that the character is a little too perfect; that is Nancy doesn't seem to make mistakes and her hunches and guesses are always correct. In this one Ned Nickerson, Nancy's boyfriend, enters the picture and we see the beginning development of the relationship. Nancy continues to be focused on solving mysteries, and unlike in the first few novels, she's not adverse to having a relationship, although she also strikes me as clueless. For some odd reason I couldn't help but think of I Love Lucy episode, the one where she rides the train and mistakes the criminal for good guy and the good guy for a criminal. Honestly, people are more complex than that. I think the books are good for nostalgia lane, but very little can be gleaned from them now. Also, for me personally the cover looks extremely ridiculous and 1950s.

3 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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