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.