I’m still suffering from a bit of Nancy Drew fatigue after reading both the Original Text (OT) and Revised Texts (RT) of the first 25 books over the past year, as well as reading the Nancy Drew Diaries to break things up a little, plus all my other reading. I can say, however, that even though it took me a while to get through, The Ghost of Blackwood Hall turned out to be an enjoyable book.
From the publisher: “When Mrs. Putney seeks Nancy’s help in recovering her stolen jewelry, the search for the thieves takes the girl detective and her friends, Bess and George, to an abandoned mansion in the River Heights vicinity known as Blackwood Hall and to the colorful French Quarter of New Orleans. When the quest is hampered by the strange behavior of Mrs. Putney and two young women who are being victimized by so-called spirits, Nancy must fight these unseen perpetrators of a cruel hoax! The resourceful young sleuth wants to help, but is hindered. The ghostly spirits have warned these gullible victims to not to have anything to do with Nancy Drew!”
Togo makes an appearance again! Togo is Nancy’s dog, but since his introduction in The Whispering Statue (Nancy Drew Mysteries #14) (review to be found here), we haven’t heard from the pup. That’s all right by me; he was kind of a handful in that volume, but in The Ghost of Blackwood Hall, Nancy has clearly trained him to be a guard dog. (As an aside, there’s no mention of the long-haired white cat she was gifted in The Mystery of the Brass-Bound Trunk (Nancy Drew Mysteries #17) (review to be found here)
The mysteries, the stolen jewelry, a mail fraud stock scheme (still timely in 2021), a ghostly apparition, young women in hypnotic trances, sketchy seances, there’s a whole lot for Nancy Drew to unravel.
The trip to New Orleans was brief and was made with the slimmest of clues to follow. I wish the young ladies had spent more time there, but there was a little local information like the above-ground cemeteries and some of the architecture to add to the overall enjoyment of the mystery. It’s nice when children’s book authors sneak in some facts and history to a fiction book.
I kept wondering when Nancy and the gang would discover the ghost of Blackwood Hall because it isn’t even mentioned until page 78 in the OT (Amazon) (AbeBooks) (page 66 in the RT) (Amazon) (AbeBooks). Just how many abandoned mansions are located in or around River Heights because here’s another one? With secret passageways and elevators, too. When my husband and I build our retirement home, I’m going to insist on a secret passage to a hidden room.
As for the peril Nancy is put in The Ghost of Blackwood Hall, she is knocked unconscious by an unknown assailant and drugged into unconsciousness with a sleeping potion. She gets kidnapped in New Orleans but is able to escape without help and also gets stuck in a quagmire along with Ned in the woods by Blackwood Hall.
Nancy is very patient. I would have been so frustrated by Mrs. Putney’s belief in her husband speaking to her beyond the grave, and taking the word of unnamed sources to stay away from Nancy Drew. But #ShePersisted and ultimately prevailed, of course.
As a kid, I always coveted The Ghost of Blackwood Hall because George was front and center on the RT cover and she is my favorite in the books, or was. Now I have a hard time with all the fat-shaming of Bess, who, I would like to point out, is always described as plump, but is never drawn that way. But George was me growing up, physically, at least, and occasionally sticks her foot in her mouth, so I identified with her. In the original artwork, I noticed Bess appears to be a brunette on the cover, which was confusing.
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