“A bird of ill omen is mysteriously left on the Drews’ front lawn. Did the person who put it there do so with the intent of jinxing Nancy and her father? This strange incident involves the girl detective in her father’s case concerning a rare bird farm threatened with destruction to make room for a high-rise apartment house complex. The use of jinxes to threaten those who oppose the construction leads Nancy to find the criminals behind the jinxing.”
The Double Jinx Mystery (Amazon)(AbeBooks) gives me fond memories of my childhood. Most Nancy Drew books do, but this one was extra special for me. My cognitively disabled sister, who is twelve years older than me, had this and one other Nancy Drew book and would read them to me as bedtime stories. It was at that early age that I was introduced to Nancy and a lifelong love began.
“The bird was about seven inches long. It had a speckled breast, variegated shades of white, brown and gray on its back, and a soft tail. Most noticeable was the peculiar way its neck was twisted and its drooping head turned backwards… “It’s a wryneck.” (a type of woodpecker) Once again there’s an info dump in a Nancy Drew book. I remember not minding it so much because I was always eager to learn more about many different subjects. Indeed, that was one of the reasons I enjoyed the later Nancy Drew books so much.
“Nancy, did you have an accident on the way home?” the woman asked. “Why yes, I did—a little one,” she replied, and told what had happened to her. “Kammy knew it. Her ESP was workingl She came rushing to me a little while ago and said, ‘I just had a strange vibration that Nancy Drew has been hurt!’” For some reason, superstitions and jinxes and ESP were added to the story to make it more interesting. However, I felt this took away from the story as a whole, and it just doesn’t age well.
At stake in this mystery is a developer who wants this children’s zoo and aviary to sell so they can continue building their McBuildings and resorts. Birds die, Ned contracts some sort of bird flu and is pretty sick, and Nancy gets a milder case.
At one point, Nancy and Ned are sleuthing for clues and are asked, “By the way, since you’re not in a hurry for an apartment, you ought to wait for one of these. When do you plan to marry?”
AT Mr. Hinchcliff’s startling remark Nancy blushed deeply and Ned looked at the ground. They hastened to assure the councilman that they did not plan a wedding and were not looking for an apartment.” Too funny.
As usual, Nancy Drew books are notorious for feasts. One such dinner had “split pea soup, broiled lamb chops, mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. “I’ll make boiled custard and after it’s chilled I’ll pour it over canned peaches,” she decided.”
In what has to be one of the dumbest things Nancy has ever done with her car, she packs it like a clown car with adults and children to take to the zoo and aviary. Not surprisingly, she gets pulled over. “I think I know the traffic laws,” she replied. “Is something the matter? Surely I wasn’t speeding.” “No, you weren’t. But you are still breaking the law. Your car is overcrowded.” He looked inside. “My word, how many children are in here?” Bess answered. “There are nine.” “And three adults,” the policeman said. “By my arithmetic that adds up to twelve persons. The most your car can hold is six.”
In another incredulous series of events, Nancy and Ned are pushed off a cliff by a giant man. “Being excellent swimmers they were able to twist their bodies into perfect dives. When they surfaced, the two had already been swept a good distance downstream. Battling hard against the strong current, they tried to turn toward shore but found this impossible to do. “The dam is not far ahead with the high falls!” Nancy thought. Ned was trying frantically to reach Nancy’s side and help her. He could not make it. A few moments later the two went over the dam!” Seriously. Somehow they survive, but the fun’s not over yet!
“The next moment he swooped her up in his arms and held a hand over her mouth so she could not scream. Taking great leaps, he carried the helpless girl away from the Thurston farm!
“You little vixen!” he exclaimed. “You may as well stop fighting because you’re not going to leave me. I’ll teach you to be my dancing partner.”
Merv Marvel was very much interested in witchcraft. “He might be a member of some demoniac group.” Yeah, I don’t even know what to say about this. Witchcraft, a name like Merv Marvel, crazy man who wants to teach Nancy to be his dancing partner after he kidnaps her. Let’s just say that some of these books from the 1970’s are trippy. 🙂
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