Author Carolyn Keene
Series: Nancy Drew Mystery #5
Publisher Grosset and Dunlap
Publication Date September 1, 1993
Genre: Young Adult
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Nancy Drew arrives in Phoenix, Arizona, eagerly looking forward to a fun-filled vacation at Shadow Ranch, but abruptly finds herself involved in a baffling mystery. The ranch is being haunted by an unknown enemy. Local people believe that the ghostly animal is carrying out the curse of Dirk Valentine, the romantic outlaw who was killed many years ago at Shadow Ranch, where he had gone to fulfill a promise to his sweetheart. Aided by her friends Bess Marvin and George Fayne, Nancy comes face-to-face with disaster when she is trapped inside a building that is toppled by a rockslide --a rockslide which is deliberately caused. But the pretty titian-haired detective remains undaunted in her determination to solve the mystery.
While visiting Shadow Ranch, with her friends Bess and George, (surprise surprise) a mystery turns up. The ranch is supposedly haunted by the outlaw Dirk Valentine, who died leaving a hidden treasure to his sweetheart said to be on the property of Shadow Ranch. Not only does Nancy take this case but also a young girl’s whose father is missing. Nancy Drew — two mysteries for the price of one! So immediately this became a game of clue for me, all the ranch-hands, owners and even Alice’s father became suspects; as it is always the little details that make you go oh, that makes perfect sense. So I led a watchful eye and got about half of it right.
The thing I liked about this mystery is that the clues involved antiques, of which I have been surrounded with throughout my life, by various family members; so the fact that the first clue was an antique watch and the second, an old bottle made me very intrigued. This gave the book a vintage feel (although it was written in 1931 so in sense was already) anyway, I really enjoyed that aspect.
At one time or another I thought any or all of the ranch hands were involved and at another I suspected Alice’s father and Bess and George’s Uncle Ed or even Alice’s father as like I said above “it is always the little details that make you go oh, that makes perfect sense.” I won’t give it away, but only one is the culprit.
I understand that she is fiction and therefore perfect, and “living” in the 30s, a completely different era to begin with, but there is something so sweet about her, she is polite but stern enough to get her way, with just a little eye-batting involved. I have yet to understand how she has been push aside as a role model in way for Hannah Montana.