Strangers on a Train (Nancy Drew Diaries #2)

Every Friday, I’ll be concentrating on children’s books. Right now I’m concentrating on re-reading all the classic Nancy Drew books in honor of her 90th birthday this year, as well as getting to know the newer Nancy Drew titles. Strangers on a Train is the second book in the current Nancy Drew series, Nancy Drew Diaries.

The 21st century Nancy Drew is growing on me. I wasn’t too impressed with her when I started this series (to read my review of Curse of the Arctic Star, click here),  but this second volume was much more enjoyable, probably because I knew what to expect. The Nancy Drew Diaries are written in the first person, which is different than the classic series. This took some getting used to.


Curse of the Arctic Star ended without all the mysteries getting solved, so Strangers on a Train is a continuation of that story. But have no fear, if you haven’t read Curse, the gist of the story is explained in chapter one of Strangers on a Train so you really don’t have to read the first volume if you don’t want to.

Nancy and her friends, Bess and George, as well as Bess’s unsuspecting new boyfriend, are taking an Alaskan cruise because all sorts of strange things keep happening on board. Nancy’s old friend Becca works for the cruise line and hired her to go undercover and find the culprit of the sabotage. The saboteurs were discovered at the end of the Curse of the Arctic Star, but there were still some unexplained happenings that needed to be figured out. Hence this book.

There’s plenty of mysteries, and plenty of suspects, and as I mention in my review of Curse, Bess’s new boyfriend, Alan, just seems to get in the way all the time. As with the original Nancy Drew books, when she traveled, the authors also snuck in a little learning along the way. The reader of Strangers on a Train learn a little more about Alaska’s terrain, including Denali National Park. I always liked those little factoids in Nancy Drew books.

The book keeps you guessing as to which person is the “bad guy.” although I do have to say that I saw the ending coming a mile away. I’m not sure if younger readers would catch on, but to an adult, it seemed fairly obvious.

I liked Strangers on a Train a lot more than Curse of the Arctic Star. Maybe it is because I’m used to the first person narrative now, maybe it is because I actually felt Nancy was doing some serious sleuthing.

Now I know for sure I’m going to pick up the Nancy Drew Diaries 90th Anniversary Collection which features the first ten Nancy Drew Diaries with different artwork and comes in an attractive slipcase. I’m not a big fan of the original artwork because I think it makes Nancy appear more juvenile.


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