Nancy is a strong-willed 16 year old girl whose father is a lawyer. When she hears about how the rich Topham family is receiving all of the money from deceased Josiah Crowley’s will, she is slightly suspicious. When she hears rumors from some of the old friends that Josiah used to have and the Tophams themselves about another will having possibly been made, she is immediately on the case. She is determined to find out if Josiah had made a different will, and if he did she wants to be the one to find it.
I have to say that first and foremost I love the Nancy Drew series. Especially the older versions when she was really a spunky girl. In the newer versions with the yellow spines, or the even newer ones that are completely yellow or something, she was still a very bright girl but she was dumbed down a bit and started caring about things such as “prom” and “having a boyfriend”. I can’t say that I hate those books, I even read the Nancy Drew Notebooks with an 8 year old Nancy Drew when I was younger, but it wasn’t sticking to the original character. The original Nancy Drew did not worry about things as trivial as that, she was a true crime solver, and that is why I loved her. That being said….
The author who wrote the original Nancy Drew books was a very racist woman. Many people have never actually read the original Nancy Drew books, but even when my mother used to read them to me she would have to omit certain parts. Let me give you an example. There is only one black man in the entire book of the Secret of the Old Clock. Since he is kind of a spoiler character, I am only going to tell how he is portrayed. Nancy refers to him as a “colored man” which, okay this was written in the 1930s. I will forgive that. But then when the character opens his mouth, he speaks in the most broken, idiotic English that any character in the book has spoken yet. He slows Nancy down in her case. He is drunk the entire time he is in the story. He is basically the most useless and stupid character in the book. And this is the ONLY black person in the entire story. I vaguely remember reading several of these original books, and in almost every story, there was very few characters that were any race other than white, and if they were they were usually black and were either being made fun of or being chastised for their stupid actions. If this doesn’t say something about the author, I don’t know what will.
So there you have it. The storyline is great, but the racism is very prominent and pretty harsh for a children’s book. I will continue with this series, because I just love Nancy Drew and I want to see her in her original form. However, I do not want to ignore the glaring faults of this book for the sake of loving it.
Overall Rating (Ignoring racism): 5/5
Overall Rating (Not Ignoring): 3/5