Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nancy Drew 2012 Convention Clues #2

I'm pasting a Blog from my past 365 Days of Nancy Drew Blog which was a year long Blog devoted to Nancy Drew. I went through all the classic Nancy Drew books and did mini reviews for discussion. Here's my posting on The Secret at Shadow Ranch/The Secret of Shadow Ranch - our convention will mainly focus on the revised version with the Cowboy Outlaw Dirk Valentine's treasure and the Phantom Horse, but both versions were set in the Phoenix, AZ area at fictional Shadow Ranch several hours from Phoenix in the mountains. Real life settings for such a ranch would be up in the Sedona area or in the Payson/Heber areas which are mountainous and could be the likely real life settings. Enjoy this review:

A missing father, a phantom horse, Zany Shaw's Junk Shop. Let's discuss!

The Secret at Shadow Ranch is another of those stories that when revised, became an all new plot. Both set in the same area--mountains near Phoenix, AZ, but two different mysteries. Both a Western setting but the mystery in the revision fits the theme better.

A Few Fast Facts:

Original Ghostwriter: Mildred A. Wirt Benson

First Cover Art Illustrated By: Russell H. Tandy

Where You Can View the Tandy Painting: The Toledo Public Library

Synopses From My Website:

Original Text:

Nancy, Bess, and George head to Arizona to visit Shadow Ranch along with Alice Regor, a cousin of Bess and George. Alice's father disappeared many years before. The plight of a young child, Lucy, who lives with a very mean woman, Martha Frank, leads Nancy to suspect something is not right. In her search to find out how Lucy came to be with Martha, Nancy solves not one, but two baffling mysteries!

Revised Text:

Nancy, Bess, and George arrive in Phoenix, Arizona, eagerly looking forward to a fun-filled vacation at Shadow Ranch, but abruptly finds themselves involved in a baffling mystery. The ranch is being haunted by a phantom horse and maliciously damaged 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. Nancy suspects that a treasure is hidden by Valentine on the ranch and becomes involved in a dangerous race to find the treasure.

I often hear that people prefer the revision to the original--as to the mystery and plots. The writing style of the original is still tops and character development is much better. But the Cowboy Outlaw mystery in the revision was a lot of fun as well as searching for the treasure using the clues while trying to figure out the phantom horse mystery. The one constant in both was Alice's missing father. I think it tied in better in the revision to the mystery at hand.

I was amused in the revision when Nancy, Bess, and George refresh their lipstick while sitting in their overheated car in the desert in major heat while awaiting rescue.

Original vs. Revised - 5 Interesting Clues:

1. The original involves 1 kidnapping, the revision 2.

2. For fun in the original we have Zany Shaw's Junk Shop, in the revision we have a Phantom Horse!

3. Nancy uses a gun in the original and shoots a lynx.

4. The revision involves a search for Cowboy Outlaw Dirk Valentine's Treasure.

5. Nancy punches villain Zany Shaw in the original version--no punching of any villain in the revision.

3 Mysterious Things About Nancy:

1. Nancy knows her way around a gun.

2. Nancy's chocolate cakes are scrumptious!

3. She's willing to break and enter to gather evidence.

An Important Lesson We Learned From Nancy:

Where there's a hidden treasure and a phantom horse, there's some trickery going on!

Sleuthworthy Rating on a Scale of 1-10:

Original: 7
Revision: 10

I preferred the revision due to the mystery being about a hidden treasure, a Cowboy Outlaw, and a suspicious phantom horse. The mystery focused more on the theme of ranches and the far west which was the main setting. The original mystery was OK, but not as exciting--and the villains getting off so easy in the original was unfortunate.


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