Nancy and Ned are visiting Coffin Hall, an estate turned rare books library, doing research on the library’s rumored ghost for an episode of the NedTalks podcast when a fire breaks out in the records room. One of the library’s security guards accuses Ned of arson—after all, he was the only one in the room when the fire started—but Ned swears it wasn’t him. He was trying to stop the fire. He tells Nancy he saw a lady in blue right before the incident, and thinks it was Henrietta Coffin, the ghost of Coffin Hall!
Nancy is confident her boyfriend is innocent, and she’s determined to identify the real culprit, though she’s pretty sure it wasn’t of the paranormal sort. When she investigates further, she learns that the fire was just the latest in a string of recent strange and inexplicable incidents plaguing Coffin Hall.
It’s increasingly apparent that someone has more than a passing interest in shutting down the library. But who—or what—is responsible? And why?
The Blue Lady of Coffin Hall (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (AbeBooks) is another solid winner from the Nancy Drew Diaries series. After lamenting how every book seems to be about sabotage and hearing complaints from readers like me, I’d imagine, Simon & Schuster, the publishers, seem to have found ghostwriters who not only avoid a sabotage trope but pay homage to the original Nancy Drew’s characteristics in subtle ways. There’s sabotage of a sort, but there’s so much more to the story, too.
Nancy and Ned are trying to unlock the secret behind a ghostly figure that is intent on getting rid of a historical library that’s in an old house owned by a shady and secretive family. Of course, this family has a lost heir, too, thrown into the mix, making this one Nancy Drew romp you don’t want to miss.
The “Ned Talks” podcast is one way to hook young readers, while paying a nod to Nancy’s use of radio in the past. Since Ned is a journalism student in the Diaries series, this makes sense. Unlike the original series, where Ned was an expert on a host of things even though he majored in chemical engineering. (Seriously, how many chem. eng. majors go on archeological expeditions?)
If you’re an adult or an astute kid, the culprit is fairly easy to guess early on in the story, but that doesn’t mean the book isn’t worth reading. The journey to get there is full of nods to the old Nancy Drew, and even the TV Nancy Drew with a few Easter eggs thrown in for the clever book sleuth. So, read carefully if you’re familiar with the old series. There are hints and similarities to earlier books, which makes for an interesting read.
Overall, this is a good book in the Nancy Drew Diaries series if not great. And with that, I’m caught up with this series just in time for the next book, which is being released in a few weeks. Review to come!
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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