Sunday, December 23, 2012
E-Reading: Book Review of #9 The Sign of the Twisted Candles by Carolyn Keene
Author: Carolyn Keene
Publisher: Grosset and Dunlap
Part of a Series: Nancy Drew series
Type of book: Mystery, feud, foster parents, happy endings, 1930s, children's-young adult.
Year it was published: 1933
While solving the mystery of an old man's disappearing fortune, Nancy ends a family feud and reveals the identity of an orphan of unknown parentage.
Characters are typical. Nancy doesn't reveal any special talents in this books, and she is again the active and has more of a masculine role. Her father is not a background character and is active instead, while other characters are forgettable and unimportant. The villains are who you think they are and everything is tied up in a neat bow.
No idea what theme should be, except there are reasons for everything.
Its written in third person narrative from Nancy's point of view. Bess and George didn't play a large part in the novel due to feud, which caused Nancy's father to step up to their place. The book has no major surprises or twists and tends to be predictable. It is easy to read, but it tends to be on the boring side.
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 In a few cases, outdated plots were completely rewritten.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.
Very typical and predictable Nancy Drew book. (Why in nine hells was I thinking that those books might be well written?) Nancy is described as red hair (titian). Her father plays a larger role in this book than in previous ones, and her friends, Bess and George, who are involved in Boonton vs Sidney feud don't play a large part at all. Ned makes an appearance and they get to hold hands. Nancy acts in a bit of masculine way, or at least is given the masculine lines, while Ned is given feminine type lines. This book is a straight mystery, although very predictable. (The orphan doesn't turn out to be what I thought she would be,) the book slightly focuses on inheritance and family feud.
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.)