“Warnings not to go to Scotland can’t stop Nancy Drew from setting out on a thrill-packed mystery adventure. Undaunted by the vicious threats, the young detective – with her father and her two close friends – goes to visit her great-grandmother at an imposing estate in the Scottish Highlands, and to solve the mystery of a missing family heirloom.
And there is another mystery to be solved: the fate of flocks of stolen sheep.
Baffling clues challenge Nancy’s powers of deduction: a note written in the ancient Gaelic language, a deserted houseboat on Loch Lomond, a sinister, red-bearded stranger in Edinburgh, eerie whistling noises in the Highlands. Startling discoveries in an old castle and in the ruins of a prehistoric fortress, lead Nancy closer to finding the solution to both mysteries.”
It’s been a few weeks since I read The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes (Amazon), and already my memory is failing me, so I’ll just go off my notes. This story takes place in the middle of May, and Ned hopes Nancy will be home for some event at Emerson in early June. For once, there isn’t some convoluted reason the boys would fly to Scotland at the exact same time as Nancy and the girls, but that’s because it turns out Nancy needs Ned to do some sleuthing while she’s abroad.
Bess entered Nancy into a photo contest and won and apparently everyone around the world reads or sees the cover of Photographie Internationale and repeatedly recognize Nancy on her travels. She doesn’t say it, but she’s a little miffed that Bess entered her photo in a contest because sleuthing means staying incognito.
Before Nancy leaves River Heights, a package is delivered to the house and it’s ticking. “In a split second the box was in her hands. She flung it far out onto the lawn. Nancy and Hannah waited breathlessly. So far there had been only five ticks. Six—seven—eight—nine— BOOM!” Okay, these bad guys mean business!
In typical Nancy Drew mystery fashion, even the plane ride doesn’t go well. “…the plane began to toss violently.” Somehow the pilot manages to land safely. And as well-traveled as Nancy is, she’s prepared. ““Do you have an international driver’s license?” the porter asked. “Yes.” Of course, she does, doesn’t everyone? I didn’t even know there was such a thing. There probably isn’t anymore, I don’t know. I don’t travel much, but I may have to look into it because I may be headed to London for a work trip next fall.
This book seems to be brief lulls before there’s some sort of peril, more so than some Nancy Drew Mysteries. While checking out a water wheel that was turned on for the first time in years, “Nancy and George were horrified to see the force of the wind pushing Bess rapidly toward the angry water! Unable to keep her balance, she fell in headlong, the churning water crashing over her!”
At one point, the gang is exploring an old castle and head down to the dungeon, which is dark. Nancy disappears. A person on site says, “Another sightseer went into the dungeon right after you did. He was mumbling something that sounded like ‘I’ll get her!’ Maybe—maybe he meant Miss Drew, and has put her in the suffocation chamber!” The group finds Nancy and find her a little woozy but on the whole, okay.
I haven’t even gotten into the fact that Nancy is run off the road TWICE, once on a road and once while driving off a ferry and lands into shallow water. So much for that international driver’s license, Nancy! The bad guys want you off the roads.
While hiking through the highlands, “A short distance away on the mountainside George was just being given a hard push by the stranger who had forced their car into the water. “The red-bearded man again!” Bess cried out. His shove knocked George to the ground. The next moment she started rolling down the steep slope head over heels! Her assailant fled toward a shoulder of the mountaintop!”
Somehow, even though it takes everyone else ages to master it, Nancy is able to learn to play the bagpipes. See, there’s nothing our favorite teen sleuth can’t do!
The missing heirloom turns out to be a brooch that turns out to be at the bottom of a pond, accidentally dropped there by the bad guys, who also happen to be in charge of the sheep stealing ring.
All in all, this was a good, but not great mystery. However, this cover art debuts the Nancy Drew hairdo I was most familiar with growing up: the flip. I always loved this cover with Nancy in her tartan, playing the bagpipes. The internal illustrations were great, too.
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