The Professor and the Puzzle (Nancy Drew Diaries #15) by Carolyn Keene

I’m chugging along with my reading of Nancy Drew Mysteries and the current Diaries series. Currently I’m up to volume #15, The Professor and the Puzzle. I’ve had issues with the previous books for a variety of reasons. Would the same hold true for this book?

“Nancy and her friends are on an epic quest to discover the identity of a treacherous Greek scholar in this fifteenth book of the Nancy Drew Diaries, a fresh approach to the classic mystery series.

Nancy, Bess, and George are excited to attend Oracle College’s annual Greek mythology themed gala. But the festive sprit turns troubled when a student falls from the balcony mid-speech. Nancy’s investigations quickly reveal this was a case of collegiate sabotage. Can she find the campus menace before someone else gets hurt?”

Sigh. You read that right. Sabotage. AGAIN. And again. And again. It seems that Nancy will never have to hunt for a lost will, a missing relative, or buried treasure again. The Diaries are always about sabotage, which makes them highly unoriginal if you read them right in a row like I’ve been doing. So, despite the overdone trope, was The Professor and the Puzzle (AbeBooks) (Amazon) a good book otherwise?

Well, I figured out who the culprit was as soon as the person was introduced. I’m not sure if younger readers would pick up on it, but just like Nancy’s “spidey sense” going off, I immediately knew who the baddie was. It turns out that the college student that fell, Bash, wasn’t the target, but Professor Stone, one of the teachers who was supposed to be speaking on the balcony instead. Who could have it in for a teacher? Plenty of people, including a gazillion students because she’s a hard teacher but fair grader.

Bess and George disappear after the first evening, so Nancy is stuck with only Iris, the dean’s daughter and an old friend of Nancy, as a sidekick. She cares more about what to wear while sleuthing than actually doing any sleuthing, so Nancy is pretty much on her own. And time after time, as in the other Diaries books, Nancy finds clues but doesn’t ask enough questions or make the right conclusions based upon the evidence in front of her.

Professor Stone is a diabetic, yet doesn’t seem to understand her disease and is embarrassed to have to take insulin and frequently forgets to take care of herself. I don’t have diabetes but have read enough about it that most diabetics take their condition seriously and take insulin when their blood sugar is high, not low like described in the book. Clearly this “Carolyn Keene” neither has nor researched much into diabetes before writing about it. Diabetes is a part of life and so is treating it. Do better, publishers. Impressionable younger people read these books.

Once again, Nancy seems to solve this mystery by dumb luck, not super-sleuthing skills. What has happened to my favorite teen sleuth? She certainly doesn’t project the smart and capable young woman she used to be. The only good thing I could find about this particular book is the introduction of Greek mythology for some younger readers.

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