Nancy's Mysterious Letter: Nancy Drew Mystery Stories, #8 -- Carolyn Keene

Nancy's Mysterious Letter is full of near misses and minor accidents:

THRILL as Nancy ALMOST gets punched!

CHILL as Nancy ALMOST falls down the stairs! 

SWELL with PRIDE as Nancy tells a Postal Inspector WHERE TO GET OFF.  (And to contact her lawyer!)

WEEP when she RIPS her DRESS! 

GASP as a boy on a sled hits her and BRUISES her LEG! 

GNAW your fingernails when she is LOCKED IN!  TO A DARK!  GYMNASIUM! 

FLINCH when Nancy ALMOST gets hit by a rock!

SHRIEK in TERROR when she and Ned are ALMOST run over!  (This time, by a car!)

BREATHE a sigh of relief when Nancy escapes DEATH by STAGE CURTAIN!

AND SOB when Nancy is CHLOROFORMED in the bathroom -- sorry, powder room -- of the River Heights airport*!

Okay, I admit it.  This volume isn't particularly action-packed. 

  • Nancy never learns -- her do-gooder ways always cause trouble!  She invites the poor old mail carrier in for a nice cup of cocoa, and when he leaves, he discovers that his mailbags have been robbed!  Not only is Nancy's Mysterious Letter From England missing, but so is a cash-filled letter addressed to her father!

  • It doesn't take long for Nancy to deduce that the thief is none other than Edgar Nixon, the mailman's brother!  She is aided by some friendly busybodies and by young, tricycle-riding Tommy Johnson, who does more in this book towards solving the mystery than Chief McGinnis EVER has.

  • Nancy's intuition:

  • When Nancy finally sees a picture of her suspect:

    As Ira had said, Edgar was handsome, but his eyes were cold as steel and she instantly felt that he was not a person to be trusted.

    Yes, very impressive.  If you ignore the fact that she's already aware that the man stole the mail.  AND that he's a litterbug.  AND that he's been harassing his poor old mailman brother.

  • The Car Chase Scene:  How many rickety wooden bridges are there in the River Heights area, anyway?  This is the third time (at least) Nancy has been foiled by one.

  • Nancy's methods:  Continue to be fascinating.  She has a photograph of the guy and his license plate number, but ultimately, she identifies him by his tacky-ass cuff links.

  • Nancy's knowledge base:  She is very familiar with nautical terms and excellent at interpreting Shakespeare.  She also has excellent parallel parking skills.

  • The Land of Coincidence Unchained:  Not a whole lot of detecting is necessary when it comes to tracking down The Other Nancy Drew** -- it turns out that she just happens to be directing a play at Ned's college.  And Nancy, Bess and George just happen to be there that same weekend!  Hurrah!

  • Later, when it seems that The Other Nancy Drew has disappeared, our Nancy just happens to run into a girl who was once nannied by TOND.  Hurrah! 

    A collision with a boy on a sled just happens to allow Nancy to read the suspect's mail without opening it -- so she's able to catch him for mail fraud without breaking any laws!  Hurrah!

  • Detective Tips: 

  • Always keep rewards on hand for young tipsters:

    Nancy went to get two small jars of hard candy.  She called them her emergency treats for just such occasions.

  • Just... odd:  Interesting weather in River Heights -- it's late enough in the year for a huge blizzard, yet Nancy had the top down in her blue convertible.

  • Bess and George crack me up (genuinely):
  • Dave Evans was blond, green-eyed, and of rangy build.  He gazed at Bess fondly.  "You look stunning in that new suit," he remarked.  "I like that fur collar.  What is it--squirrel?"

    George spoke up.  "Yep.  She shot it on the way up here."

  • Big Fun:
  •   Yet another wholesome weekend with the Omega Chi Epsilon boys -- after the play and the Big Game and the dance, everyone goes to the chapel service specially arranged for the boys and their dates.

    FOOTBALL.  I do not read Nancy Drew Mystery Stories to get play-by-play descriptions of college football games.  That is all.

  • Carson Drew's Lack of Concern Continues:
  •   Nancy is almost RUN OVER at Emerson College.  Deliberately run over.  Yet Carson sees no issue with Nancy, Bess & George gallivanting off to NYC to see the "mystery to its conclusion".  He doesn't even offer a lame excuse for not accompanying them.  He and Nancy continue their icky flirting.

  • Up Next:
  •   Sign of the Twisted Candles.

    *Yes, OF COURSE they have an airport.  Duh.

    **You know, the girl for whom the Mysterious Letter From England was actually meant.