Wow. A cult. A mysterious "oriental-looking" woman. Foreign-make cars, secret service agents, an old lady trying to save her farm and a counterfeiting operation.
Certainly doesn't sound like the most boring Nancy Drew book so far, right?
Well, it is. Book Six is definitely the current low point. It took Nancy & Co. sixty pages just to GET to Red Gate Farm -- that's a third of the book! Once they get there, it's back to Nancy-business as usual -- action, adventure and wholesome entertainment -- but it's a slow beginning.
My question may seem obvious, but in that case, it should have been obvious to the Bad Guys: Why put something out for sale if you don't want to sell it to the general public?
She also learns how to milk a cow. That was interesting -- I've never seen her described as "awkward" before. Granted, the full description was "a bit awkward", but still. She was really off her game this time around.
In her active life the attractive, titian-haired young sleuth had learned that being on time was important.
However, it was Nancy's lively interest in people that was largely responsible for involving her in unusual adventures...
So, if you're always on time and sensitive to the needs of other people, You, Too, Could Be An Intrepid Girl Sleuth.
"I'd really like to help you with this mystery," her father said, "but I'm so tied up with this Clifton case I just can't tackle anything else right now."
"Oh, Nancy," teased George, "there you go again, dreaming up another mystery!" (3)
"Well, here we go again! Never a dull moment with Nancy around!" George laughed gaily. (25)
"I've never been with you yet that we didn't run into an adventure or mystery! Maybe a trip to Red Gate will be exciting!" (42)
But, really. Give her a break -- she did have a Break-Through People Can Be Different Than Me And Still Okay Moment:
Nancy took time to scrutinize her companion more carefully than before. She wore a blue gingham dress which was plain and durable, and certainly did not appear to be a costume. The woman did not speak or act as Nancy imagined a member of the cult would. She seemed like any other person.
Of course, as usual, she's right. They are Bad Guys. The one nice lady was forced into it by her somewhat abusive husband. (Right? Domestic abuse and a cult in a Nancy Drew book = Wicked Hardcore.)
"Outwitted--by that snooping kid!" Maurice Hale screamed.
Nancy's Loot: Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
Nancy's Man: Karl Abbott, Jr. A bit of flirting, not much, though he did ultimately Save The Day by bringing in the Secret Service guys. Not a single mention of Ned.
Next Up: The Clue in the Diary.