The Stolen Show (Nancy Drew Diaries #18) by Carolyn Keene

I’m almost caught up with the Nancy Drew Diaries series. There are currently 21 volumes in the series, and I’m up to number 18, The Stolen Show (Amazon) (AbeBooks). The modern Nancy Drew takes some getting used to, and more often than not, she’s investigating a case of sabotage. That trope got old many books ago, so I really wasn’t looking forward to this volume.

From the publisher: “Nancy is helping out her Dad’s friend, Louise Alain, and her dog, Marge, at an upcoming dog show in Montreal. Marge is a professional and needs someone she can trust to handle her at the biggest show of the season. Nancy is happy to oblige, especially since Louise invited Bess and George as well!

Of course, the three friends are investigating a crime within hours of their arrival. One of the show dogs was drugged and a giant wad of gum was matted into its hair. Louise asks Nancy to investigate and gives her a useful tip: look at the dogs—their temperaments and styles are often a good window into the hearts and minds of their owners. But instead of solving a case of competitor sabotage, Nancy discovers jewel thieves have been using the dog show circuit as a smuggling operation.

The thieves are not comfortable with the teenage sleuth who’s asking too many questions. And when they make some serious threats, Nancy, Bess, and George quickly find themselves in dangerous territory.”

The mystery turns out not to be so much about sabotage, but uncovering an international group of jewel thieves. And for the first half of the book, Nancy is nervous and fearful, which is so not like the Nancy Drew I grew up with. And what’s she nervous about? Being a dog handler for a show in Quebec. I’m not sure why the publishers picked Quebec, because there’s nothing in the book that reflects the province of Canada other than the cold, and an Interpol detective that shows up. And somehow, Nancy outsmarts the Interpol detective!?

I’m not sure why the publishers seem to diminish Nancy with her nervousness and fearfulness. I haven’t read the current Hardy Boys series, but I’ll bet anything they’re not as full of self-doubt as the modern Nancy Drew. And quite frankly, while listening to this audiobook, I found my mind wandering during the first half of the book. Wandering so much that I listened to the book a second time. The first half of the book has a tiring amount of information about competitive dog shows. I’m all for slipping in information in children’s books so they not only have an enjoyable story, but learn something as well, but after a while, it got boring.

I will have to say this about The Stolen Show: there’s some real peril for Nancy, Bess, and George. I won’t say what happens to spoil it for you, but suffice it to say that there’s a dangerous situation which is reminiscent of the original Nancy Drew Mysteries. And Nancy is there to save the day, thankfully. I’m so glad Ned and Carson are MIA because oftentimes, Nancy is rescued by them and I’ve always felt that it diminished her skills as a sleuth and as a young independent woman.

Overall, this was an uneven book. Some parts, like the beginning fifty or so pages, were just boring as all get out, but the second half of the book is good. With Simon & Schuster being bought by Penguin Books, I wonder about the future of the books if they are continually wishy-washy like this volume.

This is the 36th Audiobook I’ve listened to as part of my 2021 Audiobook Challenge.

For my Nancy Drew book 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.

For more information on series books, Jennifer White has a fabulous website that you can visit by clicking here.

For more of my book reviews, visit www.bargain-sleuth.com

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