A Nancy Drew Christmas (Nancy Drew Diaries) by Carolyn Keene

It’s Friday, so it’s time to check in with my favorite teen sleuth, Nancy Drew. And it’s Christmas, so why not read the obvious, A Nancy Drew Christmas (Abebooks) (Amazon)?

“Nancy is spending her winter vacation at the most beautiful ski resort in Montana. Everything looks perfect, from the spectacular mountain views to the cozy rooms inside complete with fireplaces and holiday decorations. Unfortunately, not all is as jolly as it seems.”

“Things started to go wrong on her very first day; she hit a bad patch of ice on a run down the slopes and broke her leg in a couple of different places. Then a doctor decided she needed a giant cast and lots of bed rest. It’s been a week of unfortunate events for rest the resort too; there was a sabotaged opening dinner, multiple hotel room break-ins, and a dangerous trap was set for the star chef. And if she thought things couldn’t get any worse, a giant storm is heading her way and may just snow everyone in for days. Trapped in a hotel with someone bent on destruction? Cast or no cast, you know this sleuth is on the case.

It’s almost Christmas and both guests and staff are starting to panic. With all the odds stacked against her, can Nancy solve these crimes in time and save the holiday season? Or is this one Yuletide she’ll wish to forget?”

I’ve read a lot of reviews of A Nancy Drew Christmas (Abebooks) (Amazon) , and not one of them mentioned the obvious nod to old Hollywood and Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (Amazon) (Abebooks) with the plot of the book. The resort owner’s name is Archie Leach, which was the real-life name of Cary Grant, who appeared in four of Hitchcock’s best films. Nancy meets a family whose kid’s names are Grace, Kelly and Jimmy, otherwise known as Grace Kelly and Jimmy Stewart, the stars of Rear Window. If you’ve never seen the movie, Jimmy Stewart spends the entire movie in a leg cast, staring out the window at the neighbors across the street with his binoculars or high resolution camera lens. Nancy spends almost the whole book in a leg cast, spending a lot of her time staring out the window of the horseshoe-shaped resort at the rooms across the courtyard, using binoculars. Even the ending, which I won’t give away, is a direct rip-off of Rear Window,

Spoiler alert: It was weird to not have Bess and George along, but have no fear, the publishers figured out the perfect companions to help Nancy while she’s out of commission: The Hardy Boys. While Frank is quickly banned from the resort, Nancy works well with Joe, who does the “leg work” of the case. Nancy does rely on George’s hacking skills so Bess and George are not completely absent. Carson Drew is conveniently snowed in at home, so Nancy is mostly on her own for this book, which is twice as long as a normal Diaries entry.

There’s a lot of hit-you-over-the-head info dumps about being green, growing your own food, the potential environmental destruction of putting an oil pipeline on the resort’s land, maintaining a sustainable business, how law enforcement can have an agenda, how most mainstream businesses are about corporate greed, crooked politicians, and creating a smaller carbon footprint. It’s a lot to lay on a kid. If you’re not as liberal as the modern Nancy Drew, you might not like this book.

Because of the book’s longer length, more suspects than normal are thrown in to throw off the reader, some more obvious than the others. I figured out the bad guy about half-way through the book, so I imagine most kids will be left guessing until the end. Even if you’ve seen Rear Window, you might be surprised at who the “bad guy” is. And the book is not hit you over the head about Christmas itself, so even if you don’t celebrate the holiday, you might like the mystery.

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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