The Magician’s Secret (Nancy Drew Diaries #8) by Carolyn Keene

Now that I’ve finally got Nancy Drew Diaries 90th Anniversary Collection (Amazon) (AbeBooks) in my hands, the recently released anniversary box set, I can read the next few mysteries in the Nancy Drew Diaries series. It features the first ten Nancy Drew Diaries with different artwork and comes in an attractive slipcase. I don’t normally buy books I haven’t read previously, but I think the artwork for this set is outstanding and much better than the regular books. Seriously gorgeous.


From the publisher: “When she attends a performance by master illusionist Drake Lonestar, Nancy is skeptical. Lonestar is known for his razzle-dazzle wizardry, but can the magician really make the River Heights courthouse disappear.

As it turns out, he can, but that’s not the only thing that goes missing. Key evidence to an upcoming burglary trial disappears in the midst of the trick. And one of the trial attorneys just happens to be Nancy’s father, Carson Drew, assisted by her boyfriend, Ned Nickerson.

Nancy, Bess, and George are quick to jump on the case, but not quite quick enough: Lonestar has vanished, too, and not even his closest friends know his whereabouts.

Magic is its own kind of mystery, but is this one Nancy can handle?”

First off, Magician’s have secrets. That’s sort of their deal. So The Magician’s Secret (Amazon) (AbeBooks) is an accurate title. Drake Lonestar has more secrets than how to do his amazing tricks. In fact, there’s another guy, the bodyguard, Hugo, who is also a magician, and he’s got a few secrets himself. There’s also twin daughters of a fashion designer who are assistants to Lonestar, and they’ve got secrets, too.

Carson Drew represents a man wrongly accused of jewelry theft. Papers and documents along with the jewelry shop’s security tapes were put into crates and sealed and put into the courthouse’s basement. Drake Lonestar’s big illusion is to make the courthouse disappear. He does, the crowd goes wild, and helicopters come flying in to the air space where the courthouse once stood (Seriously, helicopters). When the helicopters go away, Lonestar makes the building reappear. But surprise, surprise, the one thing that’s missing is the evidence that Carson Drew needs.

What’s up with Nancy not wanting to figure out how certain magic tricks are performed? She just agrees to suspend her disbelief when the magician asks her to and she just goes with it. That’s very out of character. Besides, doesn’t everyone try to figure out the magic trick? That’s the whole point of doing magic tricks: to get people to wonder how they are done.

Bess and George, especially George, do as much, if not more of the sleuthing than Nancy. What on earth? Bess even corrects Nancy at one point. What? Nancy Drew is never wrong! Didn’t the ghostwriter get the memo?

Props to “Carolyn Keene” for explaining the different types of magic: illusions and escapism. And a nice little history lesson on Harry Houdini, who was actually born about 30 miles from where I live in Green Bay, Wisconsin. There’s a great display at The History Museum at the Castle in Appleton, Wisconsin, about 20 miles away. I used to take the kids there every other summer. That’s one of the things I loved about the Nancy Drew mysteries: a little travelogue or history thrown in. Educating kids surreptitiously in a mystery book, I like!

And speaking of getting the “Nancy Drew Bible” memo, in the Diaries series, Ned is supposedly working at his dad’s newspaper, but in this book, he’s working for Carson Drew in his law office as an intern. That makes it more convenient to help out for this mystery, but the continuity is off.

Despite the author’s best attempts at throwing useless clues in to confuse the reader, I had the culprit figured out rather early on because the plot is so similar to a number of TV show murder mystery stories that I’ve seen. I don’t know if a child would be able to figure it out, though, so maybe they’d love the book.

The Magician’s Secret (Amazon) (AbeBooks) wasn’t a bad book; I enjoyed peeking into the world of illusion and escapism, but it just could have been so much better.

For more of my Nancy Drew reviews, click here.

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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