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review 2018-10-23 14:21
Old School Nancy Drew Does Not Hold Up
The Secret of the Old Clock: 80th Anniversary Limited Edition - Carolyn Keene

I was just as shocked as anyone when I started to read "The Secret of the Old Clock" and found Nancy to be annoying. She and the other characters are sketched so thin and the whole story in this one was just off-putting. I also didn't think that Nancy was some great detective. She went snooping (those meddling kids) in order to find a missing will and also because she disliked the relatives who stood to inherit. 

 

"The Secret of the Old Clock" has Nancy Drew in her first stand alone mystery. Nancy is 16 in this one I think. She ends up driving along and almost hits a kid and ends up stopping to see to her. Doing that, she ends up meeting two sisters, (the Turners) who are poor and struggling to raise the kid (sorry about not remembering her name she was so unimportant though). The Turners not knowing Nancy at all tell her about the fact that they were counting on inheriting money when their rich older relative, Josiah Crowley passed away. They tell Nancy he promised to provide for them so they are confused now that he has passed, he left everything to the family he was staying with, the Topham's. 

 

There is very little development in any character in this book. We hear how attractive Nancy is, we know that Hannah is the housekeeper/mother figure who is always making Nancy her meals. Nancy's father, Carson Drew, is an attorney and is all yes my dear you must investigate, but do be careful. 

 

I also thought it was kind of gross that you had three separate groups of people aside from the Turners who were all pretty upfront about saying that Josiah was going to leave them money. It didn't seem as if anyone even cared that the old guy had passed away to me. And the shaming of the Tophams for wanting expensive things and Nancy and her father acting as if they were low-class for having expensive things was surprising to me. I read later on that this book was a slam on the noveau-riche class and I can definitely understand that. Apparently if you don't have old money, you just don't belong. 

 

This book also takes place in the 1930s so there is some definite language that is old-fashioned. And I maybe laughed at the idea of anyone talking about how expensive it was for singing and dancing lessons. The way the book is written, the aunts were going to need thousands upon thousands of dollars for that. 

 

The ending was okay, we have Nancy realizing pretty quickly were the will ended up and then it was her somehow dealing with a gang of thieves (as one does) in order to obtain the will. Everyone lives happily ever after, except for the Tophams. 

 

 

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text 2018-10-20 02:16
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Secret of the Old Clock: 80th Anniversary Limited Edition - Carolyn Keene

Ehhhhhhhhhhh

 

Definitely doesn’t work as an adult reader. Was it just me who got real sick of Nancy?

 

 

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review 2018-10-16 17:14
The Clock Strikes Twelve by Patricia Wentworth
The Clock Strikes Twelve - Patricia Wentworth

This is the 7th of the Miss Silver mysteries, which I read for the #1944 club on my blog. It is my favorite of the Miss Silver mysteries to date, better even than Latter End, which I also really liked. In fact, this is my sixth Patricia Wentworth - I've read fiveof the Miss Silvers (Grey Mask, Latter End, Poison in the Pen, The Eternity Ring, this one) and one stand-alone (The Dower House Mystery) - and it's my favorite of all of them. Grey Mask is still the weakest, and I wonder how many people have been put off Patricia Wentworth forever by reading that one first. Tragic, really.

 

For me, this was a near perfect Golden Age mystery. It had the closed circle, and the country house feel. The entire mystery takes place over a couple of days, from New Years Eve, where it all begins, to a few days later, when the mystery is solved and the murderer is revealed. We start with a brief interaction between James Paradine, patriarch of the family, and Elliot Wray, when James summons Elliot to the Paradine house over some stolen aircraft plans. He informs Elliot that one of the family has taken them, he knows who it is, and requires that Elliot remain in the home for the evening so he can put his plan into motion.

 

The plan is to announce at News Year Eve dinner that he knows that someone in the family has been disloyal, he is not going to expose them at dinner, but he will be in his study until midnight, and the guilty party must come and confess their misdeed to him or suffer the consequences. At the dinner we have all of the members of the Paradine family: Aunt Grace, the spinster sister, Phyllida, Grace's adopted daughter and Elliot's estranged wife, Elliot, Frank & Irene Ambrose (son of James's first wife & his spouse), Mark Paradine, the heir, Richard, a cousin, Lydia, Irene's sister and Andrew, the odd man out, who is a shirt-tail relative of some sort and is also James's secretary. The characterizations were really well-done. James himself is a bit of a Simeon Lee /Penhallow type patriarch, but he was much nicer than either of them. 

 

As a sometime romance reader, I've become convinced that Wentworth actually walks that line between romance and mystery better than any of the other golden age women - better, even, than Christie. She creates convincing romantic subplots that work with the mystery but don't subvert it. Heyer loses the mystery for the romance and Christie loses the romance for the mystery, but Wentworth balances them almost perfectly. The only issue with this is that it does make her mysteries a bit easier to solve, because the primary romantic coupling is pretty well removed from suspicion - part of the solution always involves moving the obstacle out of the way for their happiness.

 

I've definitely concluded at this point that it isn't necessary to read Miss Silver in order, and I would advocate for skipping Grey Mask altogether. I'm just pleased as punch that, since I've read about 90% of Christie's full length mysteries, and all of Sayers, that I have at least 50 more Wentworths before I've read them all.

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review 2018-10-16 03:31
Finished!
The Clock Strikes Twelve - Patricia Wentworth

Oh, my, this was so delightful. I'll put together a real review tomorrow, but I just loved everything about this book. Miss Silver is fabulous.

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text 2018-10-16 01:05
Reading progress update: I've read 148 out of 315 pages.
The Clock Strikes Twelve - Patricia Wentworth

I am making a guess here. Don't look under the spoiler tag unless you have read it!

 

 

I don't think it is either Elliott or Phyllida, because Patricia Wentworth enjoys her matchmaking and putting marriages back together way too much. I am leaning against Mark & Lydia for much the same reason. 

 

I'm going to go with Aunt Grace, for reasons which I can't really explain. Maybe because she is angry at her brother for interfering and trying to get Elliott and Phyllida back together. 

(spoiler show)

 

 

We'll see!

 

Aaaah! I'm already second guessing myself!

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