“The strange disappearance of a young Turkish client of Mr. Drew’s and the gift of an Oriental rug with a coded message woven into its decorative border start Nancy on a difficult search for a missing mannequin. What happened to the attractive figure that Farouk Tahmasp used in the display window of his rug shop? Who is trying to keep Nancy from finding it – and why?
Tracking down the intricate trail of clues takes Nancy and her friends Bess and George, Ned, Burt and Dave to Turkey. Their sleuthing leads them to the Grand Bazaar in the exotic city of Istanbul, where Bess mysteriously disappears. Suspense mounts when Nancy encounters a vengeful enemy at an ancient underground reservoir.
Events move swiftly as Nancy and her friends try to solve this challenging mystery, and lead to an exciting climax that will delight and thrill all admirers of America’s favorite girl detective.”
It’s been a few weeks since I read The Mysterious Mannequin (Amazon) (AbeBooks) so I’ll have to rely upon my notes. First off, let’s talk about food. Nancy Drew books are always filled with descriptions of meals, and during mysteries, the gang always has time to find a nice tearoom or have Hannah whip up some sandwiches, a cake and lemonade. Well, this one has me stumped. “Hannah Gruen had prepared one of her midnight specials—toasted ham-and-egg sandwiches over which she had poured a cheese and tomato sauce. Burt and Dave had never had the treat before. Both declared it was one of the best sandwiches they had ever eaten.” Hannah, for heaven’s sake, stick with a ham and egg sandwich. Maybe it’s because soggy bread is so gross to me, this did not sound appealing at all.
There’s a lot of talk about Turkey before the gang actually gets to go there, and there’s a lesson to be learned. “Hannah, coming back into the room, exclaimed, “Smyrna figs!” “Only now the city of Smyrna is called Izmir,” Nancy put in. The housekeeper sighed. “I wish people around the world would stop changing the names of places. I’m getting worn out trying to learn all those new ones. Istanbul was that city’s original name. Then they changed it to Constantinople and I must say I liked that better. Now they’ve switched back to Istanbul. It’s confusing. So much I learned in school has to be unlearned.” Poor Hannah can’t keep up with the times. It sort of reminds me when Denali was given it’s original name again by President Obama years ago.
Nancy must have one heck of a purse. We know she always carries a flashlight in it, and in this book it’s revealed she always carries around a sheet of paper and three colored pencils!
About ten books ago, Bess fell into a sluiceway of a water wheel. (See #TheClueintheOldStagecoach #NancyDrewMysteries #37 by #CarolynKeene #BookReview #NancyDrew) Well, in this book, it’s a little boy who gets away from his parents. Of course, Nancy dives in and saves the little boy.
It’s amazing how long it takes Nancy and the gang to decipher the clues on the rug. It takes days, and amazingly, every clue they find goes right in order so the message delivered isn’t some word scramble that they have to decipher. “As Ned closed the front door and turned toward her, Nancy picked up the rug and began to unroll it quickly. The next moment a small scimitar flew from the inside and headed straight for Ned!” Now, when I was a kid, I figured that a scimitar was some sort of death star like the ones my older brothers’ and sisters’ friends messed around with, only to look it up and find out it’s short sword. How could it come flying out of the rug? There’s no description of an apparatus inside the rug that would send it flying. Did Nancy just hold one end of the rug in her hands and flick the rug as she unrolled it? This makes no sense, but after all, we’re talking about Nancy Drew, so try not to dwell on the unbelievable!
Speaking of unbelievable, Carson Drew, the very successful lawyer who lives in a three-story house and gives his daughter pretty much everything she asks, from a convertible to a myriad of lessons to learn new skills, and bankrolls her endless vacations that usually have mysteries attached, is actually concerned about money for once. When Nancy proposes a trip to turkey to find his client, he thinks it’s a good idea. “But what about the expense? Where would all you young people find travel money?” Of course, this is only lip service as all of the gang can swing it after all; Ned, as an insurance salesman during the summers, sells a policy large enough that his commission covers the trip.
One thing I also learned when I was a kid reading this book is that there’s such a thing as a Belgian Shepherd dog. Of course, I knew of German Shepherd breed, but a dog from my ancestors’ homeland? Cool. Then I found out that there are actually four distinct breeds of Belgian Shepherd dogs. One looks like a collie hybrid, and one looks like a German Shepherd. Police later tell her how lucky she was to not have been bitten because the dog was a trained attack dog.
The Mysterious Mannequin is a pedestrian book where clues seem to fall into Nancy’s lap, and whomever the ghostwriter was, didn’t put in a lot of action, which I didn’t mind. But then it got to chapter twenty and the ghostwriter seemed to go, “Oh, shit, I’ve got to wrap this up,” and throws in all sorts of stuff.
In terms of peril, besides the flying scimitar, Nancy is pushed into a cistern and hits her head at the bottom but doesn’t lose consciousness.
While I enjoyed learning a little bit about Turkish culture, it wasn’t enough for me to consider this one of the better Nancy Drew books. Just average.
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