Review: The Password To Larkspur Lane

December 15, 2010 Whitney Review 2 Comments

Review: The Password To Larkspur LanePassword to Larkspur Lane by Carolyn Keene
Series: Nancy Drew Mystery #10
Published by Grosset and Dunlap on June 1, 1960
Genres: Young Adult
Source: Library

A carrier pigeon furnishes Nancy with a clue to a mysterious retreat.

Why must the yellow hardcovers be politically incorrect?   It is screamingly obvious that Carolyn Keene had no qualms about racial stereotypes, dubbing pickpockets and the like, as “ethnic and dark-skinned”.  Reading these descriptions in 2010 is such an eye-opener, when you think about now stepping on eggshells so as not to offend anyone and in the 30s they thought nothing of it.

A section of the book was in the setting of an asylum, where Nancy enters to save a missing woman and goes espionage on the reader.  (I could faintly hear the “Mission Impossible” theme song in the background.)  The head nurse in the institution had a Nurse Ratched quality to her, bullying  the patients in a condescending tone, and controlling their every action as she sees fit.  Even though this was not intended as Nurse Ratched did not come to being until the 60s, it was still a very entertaining character with unique traits.

Maybe it’s because I read the original 1930s publication, but I found this most enjoyable, probably because it had been unedited for the masses of another generation.  The Password To Larkspur Lane was a very different look at Nancy and what was acceptable of that time.


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