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text 2018-11-19 01:27
The Bungalow Mystery - update ND3.1
The Bungalow Mystery - P.M. Carlson,Russell H. Tandy,Carolyn Keene
The Bungalow Mystery - Carolyn Keene

Reading the 1930 & 1960 versions of The Bungalow Mystery simultaneously, comparing differences in the story and characters, and pondering dated plot points. Spoilers: full plot description below!

 

1930 Chs 1-3 vs 1960 Chs 1-2

 

1930 Nancy and Helen, her buddy from the last two books, are having a nice summer afternoon boating adventure on the lake when a violent storm comes up out of nowhere. Their boat sinks before they can get back to shore and there’s an unreasonably exciting scene where Helen, who is a weak swimmer, nearly drowns Nancy by clutching at her in a panic. Unreasonable, because it’s Chapter One and you know they’re both going to survive, but it’s really pretty well written, even with the cliché of exhausted Nancy trying to tow Helen to shore and Helen pitifully telling Nancy to leave her and save herself, and Nancy grimly determined to save them both. Anyway, another girl in a boat shows up, having heard their shouts for help, and rescues them. While Helen lays in the bottom of the boat like a dead fish, Nancy takes over for the exhausted girl at the oars.

 

Once they get to shore, the girls shelter in a boathouse until the storm blows over, and the new girl tells them her story. Laura Pendleton is a wealthy young lady who has been recently orphaned, and she’s staying at a hotel on the lake where she will be meeting her court appointed guardian, Jacob Aborn. She’s grieving and lonely and afraid, because her guardian is a stranger to her. The girls exchange invitations to visit and part company.

 

The 1960 version is similar, except that instead of Helen panicking like a ninny so Nancy can look extra competent by comparison, 1960 Helen has her arms somehow paralyzed by the boat hitting her when it sank. Laura inexplicably tells them her whole story while they’re still out in the storm trying to make it to shore, and the boathouse that they shelter in has a second story that’s set up like a small apartment – this difference will be a significant plot point later. Jacob is a distant relation in this version, and is to be accompanied by his wife Marion. I can’t find any reason for this change that serves the plot, except it gives the author a chance to illustrate a “bad” woman.

 

Considerations: A couple of things caught my interest. In the 1930 version, the girls pull on oilskins, but in the 1960 version, they put on plastic raincoats. So I fell into an internet rabbit hole reading about the history and evolution of waterproof outwear technology. Apparently, the oilskins would have been made from cloth impregnated with a petroleum-based wax. It seems that most of the innovations in waterproofing technology occurred somewhat later than the 1960 date of the revision, but by the late 1950’s there were “plastic ‘macs’ aka (by brand name) Pakamacs (made from extruded sheet plastic with welded seams and no fabric at all).”

 

Another curiosity is that the 1960 girls did look unsuccessfully for life jackets before the boat sank, but this isn’t mentioned at all in the 1930 version. Another internet rabbit hole later, I can say that life preservers did not become mandatory in personal watercraft until 1973. In fact, even at the time of the 1960 rewrite, the available technology was so poor that it’s highly unlikely a lake resort motel boat would have even had a life jacket designed to hold an unconscious person’s head and face out of the water, so although it might have helped Nancy keep Helen afloat, with her useless arms, she still would have had to struggle to keep her face above water in the rough, stormy water.

 

Dated Plot Points: Nobody with commonsense is going to be caught out on the lake in a storm today, assuming they have a smartphone with a weather app and weather alerts. Although I suppose they could be out of a service area. Since they are only 40 miles from River Heights, though, that seems unlikely. Also, mandatory life jackets, floatation cushions, and a radio for help. We had all these things on our 16 foot ski boat, so I assume they would be available on a resort motel’s motor boat.

 

Cult of Domesticity: One striking difference in the revisions is the significant amount text devoted to demonstrating that Nancy, despite her intelligence and determined, inquisitive nature, is still compliant with the virtues of feminine domesticity. In the 1960 version, we are treated to a full explanation of the girls drying out their wet clothes, making a nice cup of hot chocolate, washing their dishes and tidying up, and leaving a note of thanks to the boathouse’s owners. The 1930 girls just shelter until the storm blows over and take off after.  

 

The 24 Tasks of the Festive Season 2018: Dia de los Muertos (Nov. 1) – Book: Re-read an old favorite from a now-deceased author, a book from a finished (dead) series, or a book set in Mexico.

 

Index of Posts:

ND3 Reading start

ND3 Reading finish

ND3.0

ND3.1 (pending)

ND3.2 (pending)

ND3.3 (pending)

ND3.4 (pending)

ND3.5 (pending)

ND3.6 (pending)

ND3.7 (pending)

ND3.8 (pending)

ND3.9 (pending)

 

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text 2018-11-18 19:16
Reading progress update: I've read 114 out of 278 pages.
A Game for the Living: A Virago Modern Classic (Virago Modern Classics) - Patricia Highsmith

Then Ramón said: "I can´t understand you, Teo. But that´s small matter, isn´t it?"

"I´m not vindictive. Maybe that will help you to understand. I don´t want to think you killed her, Ramón - but even if you had, I don´t think I´d be vindictive. You think that´s foolish, I know. You´ve often thought I was foolish."

"Yes, and emotionless - comparitively speaking."

 

Emotionless is an apt describtion for Theodore.

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text 2018-11-18 16:28
ND3.0 The Nancy Drew Project, con’t for The Bungalow Mystery
The Bungalow Mystery - P.M. Carlson,Russell H. Tandy,Carolyn Keene
The Bungalow Mystery - Carolyn Keene

Three years ago, I was inspired by a fellow Bookliker to embark on a project to read through my Nancy Drew collection, in order, and comparing the original to the revised texts. It has been slow work, so I’m just now getting to the third book in the series, “The Bungalow Mystery”.  I’d better pick up my pace, if I’m to finish in my lifetime, as of the original series, 34 of them have multiple text versions.

 

Background: The Nancy Drew Mystery Stories began as a girls’ adventure series in 1930 by the Stratemeyer Syndicate, written by various authors under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene, following the story idea and outline provided by the Syndicate. Starting in 1959, the books were rewritten, condensing them to 20 chapters/180 pages, modernizing the stories, and eliminating some of the racist stereotypes found in the original stories. Some revisions only updated the stories, but others featured extensive revisions and sometimes even a completely new story. The Bungalow Mystery was originally written in 1930 by Mildred A. Wirt Benson and revised in 1960 by Harriet Stratemeyer Adams. The revisions are less extreme, although as usual the updated version is more poorly written and far less interesting, having introduced more characters and needless subplots in a condensed page count. Not to mention the significant changes in Nancy's character, who is a feisty, reckless, independent girl in 1930, but is sweetened up and made far more demure and traditionally feminine in the revision. I’ll post the chapter comparisons over the next several days.

 

Updated shelfie of my Nancy Drew collection: Starting with the books I owned and loved as a girl, I’ve added to it over the years from junk shops, used bookstores, and online purchases, with a goal of owning a copy of each format – original and revised texts, illustrations, and cover art. It is not yet complete, but I’ve hit a few bonanzas this year, so it’s now taking up 5 rows of shelves.

 

Book Challenge & Tags: Lucky for me, this book fits the Dia de los Muertes door in the 24 Festive Tasks of the Holiday Season 2018. All my posts in this project use the tag Nancy Drew Project.

 

Index of Posts:

ND3 Reading start

ND3 Reading finish

ND3.0 (current post)

ND3.1 (pending)

ND3.2 (pending)

ND3.3 (pending)

ND3.4 (pending)

ND3.5 (pending)

ND3.6 (pending)

ND3.7 (pending)

ND3.8 (pending)

ND3.9 (pending)

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text 2018-11-18 10:42
Reading progress update: I've read 55 out of 278 pages.
A Game for the Living: A Virago Modern Classic (Virago Modern Classics) - Patricia Highsmith

I just finished up sewing a shirt for myself and now I have the rest of the Sunday time to pay attention to the buddy read with BrokenTune and isanythingopen and this book, which is quite good so far.

 

So far we have a menage a trois and a murder. Theodore gives a comparativily sane impression compared to other Highsmith characters, but I´ve got the feeling that there might be something fishy about his character. I might be cynical, but he is too tolerating and understanding for my liking. 

 

I don´t have a clue what is going to happen to these characters, but it´s a Highsmith, so it is bound to take us to unexpected places.

 

I would love to take claim a square for the 24 tasks with this book, I´m not sure if it´s going to fit a book task, though (I already claimed Dia de los Muertos with another book). It might work as a book with red on the cover. 

 

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review 2018-11-17 13:11
A Deadly Brew
A Deadly Brew (A Tourist Trap Mystery) - Lynn Cahoon

Nell and Greg and their friends all go on an overnight double date (or could it be considered a triple date) to a local house that is considered haunted. The woman who had owned the house disappeared and they want to find out through ghost hunting and ouji boards and other things what may have happened to the woman, before the house is torn down and everything is lost. After the first night, Nell wakes up very cold from a dream she had and Esmerelda thinks she might be sensitive and the search for clues starts in earnest. 

 

I really enjoyed this story. It only had a few people and looked at an old mystery and had some ghostly happenings. It was also quick and easy to listen to and only needed about 2 hours of my day. 

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