The Quest of the Missing Map (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #19) by Carolyn Keene

It’s Friday, time to check in with my favorite teen detective, Nancy Drew. I finished Volume 19 of the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, The Quest of the Missing Map, both the Original Text (AbeBooks) (Amazon) which was released in 1942 an the Revised Text (Amazon) (Abebooks), which came out in 1969. The story is the same for both books, the RT is just shortened and updated a little.

From Amazon: “Prompted by the concerns of a young child, Nancy investigates a small studio on the Chatham estate. She discovers that there is a connection between the mysterious occurrences at Ship Cottage and her search for a treasure island. With only half of a map, Nancy sets out to find the man who possess the rest of the map that will pinpoint the location of buried treasure. Constantly beset by danger and intrigue, Nancy courageously outwits her enemies and solves one of the most challenging cases in her career as a teenage investigator.”

Since the story is almost identical for both versions, I’ll just share some thoughts on some things that popped out at me from the books.

Nancy is actually in school! In this volume, she’s going to art school, wanting to improve her sketching of people. I was happy to see this, as there have always been questions about if she was still in school/why Nancy wasn’t in college, etc., if her father valued her smarts so highly.

The fat shaming of Bess starts in on page 24 and is mentioned several times throughout the book. Definitely one of the downsides of the original Nancy Drew books, both OT and RT is this infuriating way of describing Bess. Sure, the RTs got rid of all the racial stereotypes and awful way of depicting people (in most cases), but they have no problem describing Bess as “plump” at every turn.

I know River Heights runs along the water, but there seem to be an awful lot of sailors living in River Heights. Nancy must know them well because she says at one point “He walks like a sailor; yes, he is one.”

Why, after at least 30 years, is this divided map suddenly making everyone look for it? Seriously, there are criminals crawling out of the woodwork for this map which has been in the Smith family since the father was 14, and he has a 20-year old daughter. The only answer I have is that because Nancy becomes interested in the mystery.

I was happy to find another mystery with a house with secret panels and contraptions in it. I hope someday to have a house with some quirk like that. (Although I guess our cavernous bomb shelter could be considered a “secret room.”)

In the OT, there’s this random happening on page 138. While traveling along a country road, the girls encounter an escaped elephant. Naturally, the escaped elephant came from a nearby circus, and the handler says the elephant got upset because a man came by, the same man that Nancy thinks is the bad guy. What are the odds? This weird section was excised from the RT, thankfully.

Fred and Irene Brown, two of the baddies, always seem to know where Nancy is, like Emerson College, where they kidnap her. Luckily, Nancy has her wits about her and escapes the car, only to be kidnapped by the same couple–AGAIN, later in the book. This time her dad and Ned have to rescue her.

I think Nancy gets knocked out twice in this book; once early on and then again on the yacht that is taking the gang to Palm Island to search for the missing treasure. In the RT, she’s thrown overboard wrapped in a tarp by a sketchy sailor. Luckily, Ned sees this and is able to escape Nancy from certain death.

After all this stealing and switching and drawing decoy map pieces, Nancy and the gang still manage to dig up the buried treasure. While Nancy normally does not accept payment for her detective services, in this case she accepts a jeweled bracelet which is described as the best piece of jewelry in the treasure chest.

I absolutely love the internal illustrations of the RT. This is the Nancy Drew I remember best. I think this is why I prefer the RT over the original, even though it is almost exactly word-for-word the same as the OT. This has to be my favorite Nancy Drew book so far of the ones I’ve re-read.

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