Captain Stone’s Revenge (Nancy Drew Diaries #24) by #CarolynKeene #NewBooks #January2023Release #BookReview

When a family friend, Grace, opens a sailing club on Lake Champlain at the former site of the Gemstone Islands Resort, Nancy, Bess, and George are invited to enjoy a few days of boating before the club’s official grand opening. But when they arrive, they learn there have been some strange things happening on the property, from missing items to holes dug all over the yard. Is someone trying to sabotage the club, and could it have anything to do with the fire that destroyed the old resort twenty years ago?

As Nancy tries to pry information from the tight-lipped locals, all clues lead back to Captain Richard Stone, the enigmatic Revolutionary War–era pirate whose tavern once stood on the same site as the resort and sailing club. Legend has it that Captain Stone’s ghost still haunts the property, guarding the treasure he buried there. But it isn’t a ghost that punches a hole in Nancy’s sailboat, leaving her and the girls to sink in the middle of the lake when an unexpected summer storm rolls in.

Unraveling the mystery of Captain Stone’s treasure will be the key to finding out who’s been sabotaging Grace’s club. But first, Nancy and her friends will have to make it back to shore in one piece…

Captain Stone’s Revenge (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (Audible.com) (AbeBooks)

I am not going to complain that once again, Nancy Drew and Company are investigating sabotage, because that’s clearly the direction Simon & Schuster wants with these mysteries, and I don’t want to sound like a broken record. But Captain Stone’s Revenge also includes a mystery of an unsolved fire 15 years ago, as well as the prospect of buried treasure. Now we’re talking!

Nancy’s older friend, Megan Cho, is opening up a resort in Vermont and invites her to visit prior to its opening. Megan has a little dog named Jimmy Chew (cute, right?). She mentions that there have been some strange happenings around the resort but doesn’t chalk it up to sabotage, just random weirdness. While Nancy came for a good time, she can’t help but think that there’s a mystery to solve surrounding these strange happenings.

There’s a teen, Ricky, who always seems to be around, being helpful to Megan, but Nancy starts to wonder if his intentions are really good. And then there’s grumpy old neighbor, Mr. Plath, who doesn’t want the resort to open because of all the traffic on the lake. You see, he has a deeded right-of-way along Megan’s beach, so that makes him a suspect.

Lastly, there’s the ghost of Captain Stone, who ran a tavern on the spot of Megan’s resort during the Revolutionary War days and is said to haunt the area. “People say strange things used to happen at the old resort. Lights flickering. Cold drafts in the hallways. That sort of thing.” Rumor has it that he buried a treasure, and “Of course, there was the suspicious fire that burned the old resort to the ground. I don’t think they ever figured out what caused that. Far easier—and much more entertaining—to blame it on the ghost of some long-gone sea captain, right?” Megan later adds, “Oh, there have been all sorts of things that have started and stopped on this property over the years since the old resort burned down. A half-built golf course. A proposed condominium development that went bankrupt and left a bunch of investors holding the bag.” Megan paused and took a deep breath. “Every time something failed, the locals said it was because Captain Stone didn’t approve.”

Nancy, Bess, and George go sailing in Megan’s boat and a storm develops quickly. They decide to use the motor to get back to shore quickly only to find that the engine doesn’t work. With the storm upon them and no way to get back to the resort quickly, Nancy decides to drop anchor and set off a flare to signal for help. However, when she and George throw the anchor overboard, it disconnects from the line and the girls are left untethered. Luckily, Ricky sees the flare and comes out in the storm and tows the sailboat back to shore.

Our favorite teen sleuth suspects that Megan’s troubles may have something to do with the fire on the site fifteen years prior. “The resort was closed for the winter at the time of the fire, and the guest quarters were vacant. Resort caretakers Bob and Betsy Sensbach were not home when the blaze broke out. Investigators have confirmed that they were at the Top Notch restaurant in Stowe all evening, celebrating their anniversary. Mrs. Sensbach’s sister, Judith Lawson, 19, was babysitting her nephew, one-year-old Ricky Sensbach, when the fire occurred. Young Ricky was rescued unharmed. Sadly, however, Ms. Lawson is presumed to have perished in the blaze.” No one knows exactly how Ricky made it out alive, he just showed up at his grandparents’ house, saying “Pa-Rah” which everyone took to mean “pirate,” blaming the blaze on Captain Stone.

Nancy and Bess do some research at the local library while George tries to analyze security video footage of the resort after more mysterious deeds happen. It seems the captain wrote an autobiography where he provides hints to a treasure. When the girls return to the resort, George declares success. “The security video,” George exclaimed. “I got it to work! And you’re not going to believe what’s on it.”

Based on the video, as well as a few more clues, Nancy’s on to good ole’ Captain Stone and sets a trap at nighttime in the woods behind the resort. Some may be surprised by the culprit, but eagle-eyed mystery readers will have picked up on a seemingly innocuous clue during the course of Nancy’s investigation that makes the guilty person seem more obvious once you get to the solution.

Of course, Nancy also finds the hidden treasure, which was right under everyone’s nose, but no one knew where to look except her.

On a personal note, I would love to try a maple creemee, which is a maple-flavored soft serve ice cream that’s common in Vermont and features in the book. I’m pretty sure I can find maple ice cream here in Wisconsin, as we have a robust maple syrup industry as well. Heck, even one of my brothers taps trees and makes “tree juice” every year so I could probably find a recipe and use my ice cream maker. I love maple flavor!

I think I’ve finally gotten used to these Nancy Drew Diaries to know what to expect, and not to expect the same sort of mystery played out like the original series. The book was good, but I have to wonder what the future holds for Nancy and the gang. The next book in the series was not listed on the book flap, only referring back to Curse of the Arctic Star (Nancy Drew Diaries #1). .With Simon & Schuster’s new ownership, is Nancy Drew’s future in doubt? Only time will tell.

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