Nancy Drew has faced all sorts of bad guys, but ghosts? Back in 1983 when I was in full-blown Nancy Drew-reading mode, the publishers came out with Nancy Drew Ghost Stories (Amazon)(AbeBooks). I begged and pleaded and on a trip to B. Dalton Bookstore, my parents bought me the volume. I’ve kept it all these years, as well as collected the other variations of covers. How did Nancy Drew Ghost Stories (Amazon) (AbeBooks) stand up over time?
Nancy Drew Ghost Stories consists of six stories, some better than others. There’s The Campus Ghost, which isn’t really scary, even though there appears to be a ghost on campus. But our level-headed Nancy Drew isn’t swayed by what she sees. She knows there’s some logical explanation and figures it out. The solution to the mystery is a bit far-fetched, but that happens sometimes in Nancy Drew books.
The Ghost Dogs of Whispering Oaks has Nancy, Bess and George helping out Sally McDonald Butler, a childhood friend of Nancy’s, to help solve the mystery of her great grandparents’ home, Whispering Oaks. It is said that their beloved dogs were buried in the wrong spot after the grandparents’ death, and that they now haunt the house, which has been unoccupied all this time. There’s also said to be solid gold statues of the four dogs hidden somewhere in the house, but no one can find them. Well, with Nancy on the case, is there any doubt the mystery will be solved?
Blackbeard’s Skull gives a little bit of a history lesson as Nancy, Bess and George vacation along the shore in North Carolina. First, there’s pirate gold on display, which could have come from the great pirate Blackbeard, as he’s said to have died near that spot. There’s a British cemetery, and Nancy meets a man who explains that during WWII, British boats went after the German U-boats were picking off American merchant ships until the British came to help. Several British ships were torpedoed and still at the bottom of the bay. Of course, the pirate gold gets stolen, and it’s up to Nancy to find it. Have no fear!
The Ghost Jogger concerns the kidnapping of two children. Police have no clue where to find them. While jogging one evening in the park, Nancy is approached by a jogger in a full white robe and hood and passes her a note with a clue on how to find the children. What I thought was weird was that I was reading my original copy, a first edition, and one sentence didn’t make sense on page 110, and the next sentence didn’t seem to follow the first. So I went and got one of my newer copies with different cover art and discovered six whole paragraphs were missing from the first edition. Reading the revised edition made much more sense, and it wasn’t long before Nancy encountered the ghost jogger again, and leads her to the missing children.
The Curse of the Frog is the weakest story in the collection. It concerns Gypsies, frogs, and missing stolen pirate treasure. At one point Ned and Burt magically appear, and it is only after the bad guys are caught that Nancy explains how and why Ned and Burt wound up in this secret passageway, waiting for the bad guys to make their move.
The Greenhouse Ghost is just okay as well. As with most of the stories, the bad guys are made rather apparent early on in the story, Nancy just needs to catch them in the act. This story has to do with a missing formula for making blue orchids, Carson Drew is hired to oversee the sale of Orchidiana, an estate and greenhouses where there’s rumored to be a ghost, and he wants Nancy to get to the bottom of it. Of course she does, because she’s Nancy Drew!
Nancy Drew Ghost Stories was good overall, with only a few stories that were so-so. Nancy never loses her cool when she comes upon a “ghost”, which was refreshing to see. In more modern incarnations of Nancy Drew, she’s not as cool headed as she used to be.
There were two other Nancy Drew Ghost Stories published. Last week I reviewed the Girl Detective Ghost Stories published in 2008 (read my review here), and Nancy Drew Ghost Stores #2, which I’ll be reviewing next week. The pictures above are all the same book, just redesigned as the years went on with different covers. And even though the original version is missing those paragraphs, I’d never get rid of it because of the wonderful internal illustrations that the publisher got rid of with subsequent editions.
For more information about my favorite sleuth, check out Jenn Fisher’s Unofficial Nancy Drew website, which has a wealth of information.
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