The Triple Hoax (Nancy Drew Mysteries #57) by #CarolynKeene #NancyDrew #BookReview #SimonandSchuster #WandererBooks

Aunt Eloise invites Nancy, Bess, and George to New York to help a friend who has been swindled out of a sizable sum of money. There, the girls see a performance of a magicians’ group who stun their audiences with clever sleight-of-hand tricks. Because the magicians temporarily remove people’s wallets and handbags, Nancy feels the actors aren’t above suspicion. Her hunch is borne out and a whirlwind chase ensues.”

Most non-collectors think that Nancy Drew books ended with #56 because that is how many books Grosset & Dunlap published with the now-familiar yellow-spined books. The Triple Hoax (Amazon US) (AbeBooks) is the first Nancy Drew books released by a new publisher, in paperback format (It was also released as a hardcover with dust jacket when first published, and in the early 2000s as a standard yellow picture cover.) Some collectors don’t consider these books “real” Nancy Drew books, but I do, because it was when these books first came out that I began collecting them, besides the yellow spined books my older sister already had. Besides the publisher, had Nancy changed much from the original 56?

Nancy, Bess, and George head to New York City to help Aunt Eloise’s friend who has been swindled out of $3000 by a shady travel agent. While they are investigating, Mrs. Richards mentions she went to a magic show put on by a group called the Hoaxters. The young ladies decide to go see for themselves and pick up some clues.

The Hoaxters invite people up on stage and magically, people’s belongings like purses and wallets disappear. The magician insists that all is all right and the people affected will get their items back at the end of the show. Bess is one of those people affected, and Nancy can’t help but wonder why everyone’s belongings are held on to for so long. Nancy is proved right when Bess is propositioned by a man who wants to sell her a time share in Maine. Several trips back to see the show and being rebuffed by the Hoaxters onstage confirms Nancy’s suspicions. Then, the Hoaxters skip town, supposedly headed to Mexico City, with tons of money and a stolen vial of ancient poison (don’t ask).

What I really liked in this story, and what was only read about a few times in the original Nancy Drew books, was that hopping a plane to Mexico City was not a foregone conclusion. George has to negotiate with her dad in order to spend the money on a flight to Mexico City. Mr. Fayne mentions raising her allowance and I couldn’t help but wonder how much she had gotten prior if a raise meant she could fly to another country.

While in Mexico City, Nancy and the girls pick up the trail to the Hoaxters and meet a wealthy woman whose granddaughter has been kidnapped following a visit to the magic show. And they meet a man who just so happens to collect old poisons and keeps them under lock and key. Then the Hoaxters skip town, but Nancy learns they are headed to Los Angeles. However, it’s not as simple as hopping on a plane this time. There’s an airplane workers’ strike so the girls have to rent a car and drive the 2500 miles. Where’s the money coming for that trip, George?

Once in Los Angeles, Ned, Burt and Dave plan to join them. Suddenly, it seems, the airplane strike is over because they’re on a flight that gets hijacked for about a minute. As soon as the girls learn the plane is hijacked, another announcement at the airport reveals that the hijackers were overpowered. If only it were that simple. Turns out the hijackers were looking for a free ride to South America.

It’s just a matter of time for Nancy to pick up the clues that lead to the villains’ hideout where all sorts of goodies, as well as the vial of poison are found.

I found the mystery to be good, and I always enjoy a good info dump on other cultures or locations, which this book also has. I think this mystery rates up there with the rest of the 1970’s Nancy Drew books, which is to say it’s good at best.

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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