As happens from time to time, the Original Text (Amazon) (AbeBooks) of The Mystery of the Brass Bound Trunk is completely different than the Revised Text (Amazon) (AbeBooks). I’m not offering up straight-up retelling of the stories so much as providing observations I made while reading the two books. Both books involve Nancy’s brass-bound trunk being confused with someone else’s. That’s where the similarities end.
I found it interesting that at the beginning of the Original Text (Amazon) (AbeBooks), it is mentioned that Nancy solved her mystery “some years before” so I think this marks the point when she’s 18; in previous editions, her age isn’t mentioned, but I believe in The Secret of the Old Clock she is mentioned as being 16.
Nancy, Bess and George are supposed to take a trip to Buenos Aires with a girls’ school, but one of the mothers raises a snit fit. The girls don’t get on the boat until about half-way through the book, and plenty happens before that.
Nancy is close enough to a lightning strike that she’s knocked out. It wouldn’t be a Nancy Drew book unless she lost consciousness! She also gets in a fender bender (not her fault, of course) and it only costs $50 to fix. Wouldn’t that be nice today!
Nancy’s gifted a white long-haired cat and decides to travel to South America with it. I should also point out there’s no mention of her dog, Togo, in the book. So now she has a cat instead of a dog.
On page 135, George gives a recap of the mysteries thus far: “The trunk episode; Doris Trenton’s love affairs; the red-haired stranger; and the unhappy Mrs. Joslin and her daughter; all keep Nancy up and doing.”
Bess isn’t fat-shamed by anyone but herself in this book. She’s the only one who comments on how much food she’s consuming.
When the girls get to Buenos Aires, it seems like no one from the ship has anyone else’s addresses while they are spending time in the city; there’s a lot of chasing down addresses in this book.
Nancy is investigating a luggage shop where she believes her missing trunk is, and a pile of luggage falls on her and knocks her out. When she comes to and makes her way to the front door, she faints. Another knockout!
The mystery was good, although I wished there would have been some sort of travelogue or history of Buenos Aires as you might find in the Revised Texts of Nancy Drew novels.
In the Revised Text (Amazon) (AbeBooks), Nancy, Bess and George are returning on a ship from Holland. They must have had a European tour, because it’s mentioned later in the book that Nancy bought a swimsuit in Switzerland. Their cabinmate happens to be Nelda Detweiler from Johannesburg, South Africa. She’s going to school in America, but she’s also running away from scandal: she’s been accused of stealing a diamond bracelet from a jeweler. Of course, she’s innocent, and Nancy will do everything in her power to prove her innocence.
In an unbelievable, even for a Nancy Drew story, event happens. As the ship is sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, a meteor heads straight for them. Yes, a bloody METEOR! It strikes the water and creates a tidal wave that rocks the large ship.
In another one of the quirks of the Revised Texts, the girls say prayers of thanks that they weren’t hurt during a time of catastrophe. Harriet Adams, the ghostwriter of the later Nancy Drew mysteries, liked to casually include Nancy going to church in almost every book.
In the concussion department, George gets knocked out and Nancy faints. Just another typical Nancy Drew adventure. I swear, these girls get knocked on their heads more than NFL players.
It’s revealed in the book that no matter where Nancy goes, she’s always packing a flashlight. I always wonder about the size of her purse, and the size of her flashlight and magnifying glass, which also makes an appearance.
In another unbelievable event, Nancy and Nelda are picked up by two men dressed as fisherman with stocking masks on and thrown overboard. Luckily, George suspects something and gets the ship stopped. A rescue boat is launched and the girls are found. This I found hard to believe. A big cruise ship can’t just stop on a dime (as we all learned with the Titanic), and it’s dark out. Even with the use of huge spotlights, I found the girls’ rescue too easy.
It’s a toss up over which book is better, the Original Text (Amazon) (AbeBooks) or Revised Text (Amazon) (AbeBooks), but both are equally good reads if you can suspend your disbelief a little.
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