When star model Jacqueline Henri disappears, Aunt Eloise insists that Nancy Drew replace the young woman in a benefit fashion show. Nancy reluctantly accepts the invitation, only to discover that several of the clothes she is supposed to wear have been stolen! To make matters worse, someone has also scooped the designer’s collection–and sold the originals to a store chain! There’s more bad news. Miss Henri’s brother, an investigative reporter, may have been kidnapped!
The Twin Dilemma (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (AbeBooks Used Book Marketplace)
My older sister had two Nancy Drew books that she used to read to me as bedtime stories, but it wasn’t until The Twin Dilemma was featured in my school’s Scholastic flyer that I begged my parents for my own Nancy Drew book. They acquiesced and the paperback was my first Nancy Drew. Little did I know that I would spend the next few decades completing my collection of different cover art for the United States editions.
Re-reading The Twin Dilemma, it appears as if there’s a subtle change to the Nancy Drew Mysteries. It seems she’s a little less skilled and confident than in the books of decades prior. The only skills she seems to have is being a good sleuth and being a fill-in model. She, Bess and George are visiting Aunt Eloise in New York in order to attend a charity fashion show her aunt is helping coordinate. The main model goes missing, and Nancy is tasked with finding out where she is. Soon she’s involved in a few side mysteries as well, including who stole a fashion designer’s samples and designs.
Looking back past the nostalgia I had for this book, I find the Twin Dilemma lacking in several areas. George is especially cruel about Bess’s weight and Nancy even laughs at her makeover. There’s not a lot of danger in the book, unless you count getting locked in a dark office and the electricity being cut for the building as treacherous. Nancy is able to extricate herself from the situation rather easily (but not before bumping her shin, oh, no!), and it seemed to be no big deal that someone was thwarting her sleuthing.
And speaking of danger, instead of a usual fake telegram from her father luring her out and about as seen in countless books, The Twin Dilemma’s fake telegram actually encourages her to stay home all day instead of investigating the mystery. Yawn!
This mystery is set in New York City’s fashion district which should be exciting to many young girls who are not only smart but want to be smart looking, but it’s really not. The fashion designer, Reese, is a tyrant, and I’m pretty sure his behavior wouldn’t fly today, which makes the book feel rather dated.
I liked this book while revisiting it; it is certainly better than the other Wanderer imprint books I’ve read lately, but I can’t help think that this is the start of a new Nancy Drew that’s more on par with the sleuth from the Nancy Drew Diaries, which I find problematic. I only got to volume 69 of the Nancy Drew Mysteries the first time I tried reading through them, so who knows what will come.
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