I’m such a rebel. Instead of going in order in reading my Nancy Drew collection, I decided to start skipping around. So this week I’m reviewing #40 in the series, The Moonstone Castle Mystery (AbeBooks) (Amazon).
“When Nancy Drew receives a valuable moonstone as a gift from an unknown person, she is amazed and puzzled. But it is only the first of several startling events in this complex mystery that challenge the ingenuity of the pretty sleuth. Why are the Bowens–a missionary couple who recently returned to the United States–having so much trouble finding their missing seventeen-year-old granddaughter?”
When I was growing up, I loved this book. One of the reasons was because of the Castle in the middle of nowhere in America, with a moat, no less! Another reason I liked this book was the amount of time George was featured. In this book, Bess is left behind several times and Nancy and George sleuth without her, for which I was glad because Bess is always such a downer with her pessimism. That and I didn’t have to read George’s merciless fat-shaming of her cousin.
The tropes of this book include the usual Nancy Drew fare: the theft of an inheritance, although Nancy’s got her work cut out for her because the theft was fifteen years prior, several threatening notes, a mysterious gift of a moonstone, and Nancy’s car is stolen yet again. Before she even leaves town, someone is spying outside her home, and when she gets to Deep River Valley, she’s followed several times despite using an alias. Nancy keeps in close contact with the police throughout her investigations, and there are dishonest servants. Mix all these details up and you have your average Nancy Drew Mystery.
As with most Nancy Drew books, eating is a big part of the books, and in The Moonstone Castle Mystery, Nancy and the girls frequent a tearoom many times because the town busybody lives there. She’s a wealth of information but isn’t always nice to Nancy. I wish my city had a tearoom, I’d definitely frequent it as I prefer tea to any other drink. I always worried about the cost of dining out all the time and how George and Bess could always afford to go with Nancy on her travels, but in this volume, Carson Drew makes it clear that his law firm will cover all costs for the girls.
It’s always amazing to me how convoluted the story can become so the boys, Ned, Burt and Dave, can come visit wherever Nancy, Bess, and George are sleuthing. This time the boys just happen to have time off from their summer jobs and visit exactly when Nancy’s vehicle is stolen, so Ned can drive everyone around. And of course, the boys are around when some muscle is needed.
At the end of the story, it’s revealed that a former maid of Nancy’s Aunt Eloise is involved on the fringes of the case. In terms of peril, no one gets knocked out but Nancy is involved in two boat crashes, is almost hit by lightning, the gang is scared away by bats, and Nancy is rendered semi-conscious by one of the bad guys with a vial of liquid he just happens to be carrying while hiding out in the castle.
I loved and hated the artwork for this book. I loved it because George was depicted exactly as I pictured, and the interior illustrations match that look, but oh my gosh, does Nancy look positively matronly on the cover. The castle is exactly how one pictures a castle to be.
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.
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