Gold! There are rumors that long ago a treasure was hidden in a city now buried under the Nevada desert.
Nancy and her friends plan to join a dig sponsored by two colleges to hunt for the gold. Before she starts, the young sleuth receives an ancient stone tablet with petroglyphs on it. With this amazing clue, however, come a threat and danger from a thief who also wants the treasure.
One harrowing adventure after another besets Nancy, Bess, George, Ned, Burt, and Dave in 102-degree temperatures as they pursue Nancy’s hunches above and below ground. They are assisted by a find Indian woman and a young geology student, but both are unwilling participants in a strange plot.
In the end Nancy and Ned nearly lose their lives, just after she has discovered the priceless hidden treasure of gold.
Time for an archeological dig in Nevada, similar to the dig in the Revised Text of The Message in the Hollow Oak (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #12). The Secret of the Forgotten City (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (AbeBooks) has not aged well, as most of the Nancy Drew travelogue books from the 1960’s and 70’s tend to be. They’re problematic with their use of language to describe ethnicities (swarthy is commonly used to describe someone not as WASPish as Nancy and the gang.)
I took a lot of notes when I re-read this book, but I’m going to dispense with those. Let me sum up how I feel about this book by describing one scene in particular: Nancy and her friends are on an archeological dig and one of them unearths a skeleton of what appears to be a Native American man. I don’t know if it’s the correct procedure or not, but they put string or wire through the bones with their expert archeological skills (isn’t Ned a chemical engineering major? What the heck are they doing on a dig in the first place?) After wiring up this skeleton, you would think they would do something to honor the discovery of this ancient man. But no, instead, they make the skeleton dance. It’s decided that it will be a funny joke on the rest of the expedition and make this actual real life skeleton pop out from behind the bushes during a campfire that night to scare everyone. Seriously.
No one loses consciousness in this book, but Nancy is briefly kidnapped and later is swept down an underground river, only to discover gold tablets at the end of her trip. The gang of six come up with this goofy speaking code where every third word spoken is the key word and use it randomly to let the others know they’re being watched.
Well, this is the last Nancy Drew book of the original 56 produced by Grosset & Dunlap that I’ve read, and it was kind of a dud. I’ve got a few more Diaries to review, and then I’m trying to decide whether to continue with the original Nancy Drew Mysteries, which go up to volume 175, or pivot and start reading Trixie Belden or The Hardy Boys, or perhaps finally read the offshoots of Nancy Drew like the Case Files or the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys Super Mysteries. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
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