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The Clue in the Crumbling Wall

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A sprawling estate was willed to a dancer who has vanished several years earlier. During their investigation at Heath Castle, Nancy, Bess and George realize that its crumbling walls contain a secret, but what is it? They search for clues in the neglected gardens of the vast estate, hoping to find a lead to the missing woman. Danger lurks in a castle tower and throughout th A sprawling estate was willed to a dancer who has vanished several years earlier. During their investigation at Heath Castle, Nancy, Bess and George realize that its crumbling walls contain a secret, but what is it? They search for clues in the neglected gardens of the vast estate, hoping to find a lead to the missing woman. Danger lurks in a castle tower and throughout the vine-tangled grounds as Nancy exposes a sinister plot to defraud the dancer of her inheritance. This book is the revised text. The plot of the original story (©1945) is similar with minor revisions.


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A sprawling estate was willed to a dancer who has vanished several years earlier. During their investigation at Heath Castle, Nancy, Bess and George realize that its crumbling walls contain a secret, but what is it? They search for clues in the neglected gardens of the vast estate, hoping to find a lead to the missing woman. Danger lurks in a castle tower and throughout th A sprawling estate was willed to a dancer who has vanished several years earlier. During their investigation at Heath Castle, Nancy, Bess and George realize that its crumbling walls contain a secret, but what is it? They search for clues in the neglected gardens of the vast estate, hoping to find a lead to the missing woman. Danger lurks in a castle tower and throughout the vine-tangled grounds as Nancy exposes a sinister plot to defraud the dancer of her inheritance. This book is the revised text. The plot of the original story (©1945) is similar with minor revisions.

30 review for The Clue in the Crumbling Wall

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jessaka

    This is one of the most exciting Nancy Drew books that I have read in a long time. Nancy is trying to solve the mystery of a missing dancer who owns a caste near her town. To do tis she sneaks into the run down and abandoned caste with her friends Bess and George by climbing over the walls. Well, they are not alone because some men are blasting away walls and chiseling away other walls looking for a treasure. And did I mention the dogs? In the meantime we have a little boy thief who has stolen Na This is one of the most exciting Nancy Drew books that I have read in a long time. Nancy is trying to solve the mystery of a missing dancer who owns a caste near her town. To do tis she sneaks into the run down and abandoned caste with her friends Bess and George by climbing over the walls. Well, they are not alone because some men are blasting away walls and chiseling away other walls looking for a treasure. And did I mention the dogs? In the meantime we have a little boy thief who has stolen Nancy’s purse and a pearl that she had found in an oyster shell. Then he steals some articles of clothing. The Brat. Then there is a kindly fisherman named Salty who helps the girls out and gets into trouble himself.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Gregory Gerard

    This has to be my all-time fave Nancy Drew mystery. It has an aging castle, and hidden trails through the overgrown gardens, and boat trips up secret tributaries, and a cloister walk down to the beach, and a clandestine Poet's Nook...and on and on. This is one guilty pleasure I do allow myself a grown-up read now and then on winter days by the fire. This has to be my all-time fave Nancy Drew mystery. It has an aging castle, and hidden trails through the overgrown gardens, and boat trips up secret tributaries, and a cloister walk down to the beach, and a clandestine Poet's Nook...and on and on. This is one guilty pleasure I do allow myself a grown-up read now and then on winter days by the fire.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Whitney

    This mystery involves yet another abandoned mansion that's a stone's throw away from Nancy's hometown River Heights. In this particular book, the mansion is most easily reached by boat. I'm reminded that River Heights has the word "river" in it, and this book definitely makes the most of it. Nancy's sleuthing brings her to encounter a seafaring gentleman known as "Salty" who makes a living selling mollusks to the townsfolk. Everyone knows him as "the singing clam digger of Muskoka River." (Hey! T This mystery involves yet another abandoned mansion that's a stone's throw away from Nancy's hometown River Heights. In this particular book, the mansion is most easily reached by boat. I'm reminded that River Heights has the word "river" in it, and this book definitely makes the most of it. Nancy's sleuthing brings her to encounter a seafaring gentleman known as "Salty" who makes a living selling mollusks to the townsfolk. Everyone knows him as "the singing clam digger of Muskoka River." (Hey! The river has a name!) No one explains why a saltwater man is hanging around a freshwater river, UNLESS it's a clue to the location of River Heights! I've always wondered whether it's a New England town, but several online sources say River Heights is in the Midwest. It really doesn't matter. Nancy's world is a fictional fantasyland. Regardless, I'm getting the urge to map it. It'll be a lot of fun. Abandoned mansions everywhere!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    Ned was missing from this book. Apparently, Nancy "missed her special friend who had gone to South America on a school project." (See chapter 10, paragraph 3). Hopefully, he's in the next one. 2018 challenge: a book mentioned in another book (The Secret in the Old Attic) Ned was missing from this book. Apparently, Nancy "missed her special friend who had gone to South America on a school project." (See chapter 10, paragraph 3). Hopefully, he's in the next one. 2018 challenge: a book mentioned in another book (The Secret in the Old Attic)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    In chapter one, in a non-sequitur action sequence, Nancy finds a pearl in a freshwater clam from a door-to-door clam salesman. What the hell is a door-to-door clam salesman, besides another veiled reference to lesbianism? Ned Nickerson appears once in writing, but apparently he and the other guys are in South America. Nancy helps find a missing woman whose inheritance is being mismanaged by a crooked lawyer. Part of the inheritance includes a Lost Textile Process. Bess loses consciousness when she In chapter one, in a non-sequitur action sequence, Nancy finds a pearl in a freshwater clam from a door-to-door clam salesman. What the hell is a door-to-door clam salesman, besides another veiled reference to lesbianism? Ned Nickerson appears once in writing, but apparently he and the other guys are in South America. Nancy helps find a missing woman whose inheritance is being mismanaged by a crooked lawyer. Part of the inheritance includes a Lost Textile Process. Bess loses consciousness when she falls out of a boat and hits her head on a rock. Nancy loses consciousness when she's in a factory that explodes. Hannah is bound and gagged.

  6. 5 out of 5

    C.E.

    I thought this was a lovely read. The castle reminded me of ones in Romantic-era books and I could really visualize it (something that's usually hard for me). I also enjoyed the Cinderella-like mystery at the heart of it. I thought this was a lovely read. The castle reminded me of ones in Romantic-era books and I could really visualize it (something that's usually hard for me). I also enjoyed the Cinderella-like mystery at the heart of it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Darinda

    Nancy is trying to locate a missing dancer. A delightful mystery.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    One of the better books in the Nancy Drew series. Very atmospheric with the old castle, overgrown gardens and various crumbling stone walls. Good way to spend a little time.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sara ♥

    I remember reading this book when I was younger and really loving it. Don't get me wrong—it was cute and all—but not exactly something to write home about. Maybe it was The Mystery of the Moss-Covered Mansion that I really loved? (I'll try that one for the next challenge, as my "cozy" mystery...) The ending was a bit... anticlimactic to me... Anyway, this book was a Nancy Drew version of Cinderella. The kind where Cinderella is a dancer who has been missing for 10 years, and in which the "prince" I remember reading this book when I was younger and really loving it. Don't get me wrong—it was cute and all—but not exactly something to write home about. Maybe it was The Mystery of the Moss-Covered Mansion that I really loved? (I'll try that one for the next challenge, as my "cozy" mystery...) The ending was a bit... anticlimactic to me... Anyway, this book was a Nancy Drew version of Cinderella. The kind where Cinderella is a dancer who has been missing for 10 years, and in which the "prince" (aka rich fiancé) died 5 years afterward, leaving his fortune to the missing woman, who must claim it within 5 additional years. And so time is running out and Nancy Drew must FIND the dancer, or the evil lawyer will get all the money (through mischievous ways)... and in which the solution to the mystery is all about shoe-size. So it's sorta like.... depressing Cinderella. Except it was actually quite happy (and CHEEEEEEEESE-OLA) in the end, though the fiancé was still dead (this isn't Alias, after all)... Because the dancer's sister and niece were all reunited and yadda-yadda-yadda. It was cute, but predictable... And clues come to Nancy a little too conveniently (and always have...), as though she were a HUGE clue-magnet, and clues can't help but to POP right out of the woodworks and jump on her... :)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ari

    These may be the books that pull me out of my reading slump!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Katja Labonté

    5 stars & 5/10 hearts. This ending actually made me put down the book and "awwww." Nancy Drew isn't known for her awesome endings, but this one was heartwarming. I loved Miss J. and Joan & her mother. The whole mystery was very sweet and fascinating; exciting and with a touch of danger, but not freaky. I really enjoyed it! 5 stars & 5/10 hearts. This ending actually made me put down the book and "awwww." Nancy Drew isn't known for her awesome endings, but this one was heartwarming. I loved Miss J. and Joan & her mother. The whole mystery was very sweet and fascinating; exciting and with a touch of danger, but not freaky. I really enjoyed it!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. In which Nancy and a ladycop form a relationship that will likely NEVER BE MENTIONED AGAIN. So Nancy, gardener extraordinaire (see Larkspur Lane), has some gorgeous new rose bushes - which are fucking STOLEN because River Heights is a hotbed of crime. Seriously. Fucking rose bushes. She reports it to the police, and ladycop (Inspector Masters) says, "Oh yeah, I know who did this." She takes her to the house of the culprit: an elementary school aged moppet (Judy, I think) who is half an orphan (he In which Nancy and a ladycop form a relationship that will likely NEVER BE MENTIONED AGAIN. So Nancy, gardener extraordinaire (see Larkspur Lane), has some gorgeous new rose bushes - which are fucking STOLEN because River Heights is a hotbed of crime. Seriously. Fucking rose bushes. She reports it to the police, and ladycop (Inspector Masters) says, "Oh yeah, I know who did this." She takes her to the house of the culprit: an elementary school aged moppet (Judy, I think) who is half an orphan (her dad died) and whose mom is an invalid. In other words, Judy hits like 3 spots on Nancy's mental Bingo card immediately. Judy was like "I stole the rose bushes 'cause we can't have pretty things!" and Nancy's like "No, it's okay, sadface," and the mom's like "if only my talented dancer sister were here, she's missing; she was gonna marry a rich man and he died but he left her his estate and if she doesn't claim it in three weeks it reverts back to the state!" Nancy of course is like "YES PLEASE." Also, this clamdigger/seller named something normal but who has the nickname Mehearty (because he kept calling people "me hearties" and Nancy referred to him as "Mehearty-man" as a child) tells Nancy about Heath Castle (said rich guy's estate) and is kind of an idiot, but he has a good heart and he helps the girls out. And takes a punch for them. You're good people, Mehearty. Nancy, Bess, and George take several trips out to Heath Castle, looking for any clues and the fortune that's apparently hidden there. During one, some guard dogs prevent Bess from coming in; once Nancy and George are in, George falls into a decorative fish pond and gets soaked. She takes off her clothes so Nancy can dry them, and hides in the boathouse in the meantime. Nancy lays out her clothes, including a fancy top (GEORGE WHY WOULD YOU WEAR A FANCY TOP DURING A TRIP TO AN OVERGROWN JUNGLE OF A HOUSE), so they can dry in the sun, and then immediately spots some stranger and follows him. Anyone knows what happens next: -The neighbor boy who is such a bad influence on Judy comes by and fucking steals George's clothes because he's a pint-sized asshole who is also a dog abuser and he should be pimp slapped. That means George is left stranded in the boathouse 'cause she's indecent. -Bess comes in because she's worried about her friends and ends up treed by the dogs. -Nancy gets locked in a tower in Heath Castle. Someone inadvertently releases her so she escapes, but it's pretty tough for a while. There's a LOT of sneaking onto the property to try to find clues, and the police-lady being super conveniently "just driving by" and helpful. I have a theory that she's kind of taken the Ned role in this. Speaking of Ned, HE'S IN SOUTH AMERICA (FIGHTING NAZIS). This book came out in 1945. Ned writes to Nancy and says he's not having fun, and then says he's sure she's working on a mystery and he fondly remembers helping her while she did like all the work on solving mysteries, and Nancy's like "I LOVE YOU HONEY" except without saying it. She is super excited to hear from him. Nancy and her dad track down the missing sister, but said sister is kidnapped before they can get in touch with her. And, in what is likely the most realistic thing to happen in this series EVER, the cops try to arrest her because she was fucking trespassing! And she was! So that wasn't really out of line. But the bad guy is the one who reported her, and he said that she was vandalizing and something-ing, and Nancy's like "okay I'll cop to the trespassing charge but fuck the rest of that noise, and also I was working on a case" and the cops are like "well, I mean... okay then" so they fucking LET HER GO (with ladycop, but whatev). Definition of white Drew privilege much? I mean, it's fine 'cause I love y'all but damn. Nancy and ladycop find the missing sister in the castle dungeon (OF FUCKING COURSE) and then the villain locks them in and Nancy's like "hey ladycop don't you have a police whistle you can blow to get the attention of the other cops we brought with us?" So they're rescued and all the bad guys are caught and yay! Bad news: the bad guys stole like EVERYTHING. Other than the fucking house (and they tried that too because the lawyer had an imposter claim to be the missing sister). The lawyer looted the estate and didn't keep any of the money. His henchmen found bottles of expensive dye and sold them, and the jewelry in the house, and like everything they could find. And they're all under arrest, but they ain't got shit now. Good news: the missing sister is found! And sadly she was crippled in an accident, but she's a great gardener. So Nancy finds the dye formulas and the whelks used and sells that for the sister, and a spring on the property has "restorative properties," so she sells that too. The sister turns Heath Castle into a home for crippled children and cleans up the place and brings Joan and her mom to live there and yay! Everyone's happy. And Nancy's already on her next case. So, good times.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    "When Nancy is asked to find a professional dancer who disappeared several years before, the young detective becomes involved in a mystery reaching far beyond a missing-person's case. During Nancy's investigation at Heath Castle, she and her friends Bess and George realize that its crumbling walls contain a secret, but what is it? And who are their enemies that try to foil their every attempt to unravel the intricate puzzle? Danger lurks in a castle tower and throughout the vine-tangled grounds "When Nancy is asked to find a professional dancer who disappeared several years before, the young detective becomes involved in a mystery reaching far beyond a missing-person's case. During Nancy's investigation at Heath Castle, she and her friends Bess and George realize that its crumbling walls contain a secret, but what is it? And who are their enemies that try to foil their every attempt to unravel the intricate puzzle? Danger lurks in a castle tower and throughout the vine-tangled grounds of the estate. The girls' gripping adventures culminate in a dramatic climax when Nancy exposes a sinister plot to defraud the dancer of her inheritance." [x] I've read this book either once or twice and did not enjoy it. I actually confused it with Moonstone Castle and when I re-read that a few months ago I kept think "where are all the parts I hate like George getting her clothes stolen?" then I realized I was thinking of the wrong book and its actually Clue in the Crumbling Wall I can't stand (Moonstone Castle is an excellent book btw). I don't remember much about this book except for George getting her clothes stolen while they're drying and the girls looking through a box they find in the crumbling wall. As for what's in the box I don't recall at all. Gosh, I am not looking forward to reading this but lets get it over with. - Nancy has 3 weeks to find Juliana Johnson so she can claim her inheritance. Why would anyone wait until there's only 3 weeks to hire someone to track her down? Someone should have been on that a year ago. I know the lawyer is crooked and not really trying but Juliana's sister should have tried. - I find Salty a little disturbing. This man just walks down the street with a wagon full of Oysters for sale. Its kind of strange and seems unsanitary. And of course Nancy just happens to get an oyster with a pearl. - Nancy's purse gets stolen. It contains her drivers license, car registration, credit cards, money, the pearl from the oyster, and some cosmetics. She says she's just thankful she didn't lose more but like...what else could she have lost. Its not like she's going to keep her real valuables in her purse. Instead of being thankful she should be concerned about those credit cards. - Bess stuck in a tree with vicious dogs surrounding her, George stuck clothe-less in a tool shed, and Nancy locked in the tower of an abandoned castle may be the most hopeless situation the girls have been in. - Heath castle just happens to be based off an English castle and Nancy just happens to have a book featuring that castle and the book just happens to mention the secret hiding place in the wall. Talk about luck! You can read the rest of this review at VintageGirlsBooks.blogspot.com You can see all the illustrations from this book at www.pinterest.com/Nancydrewart

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sahifa

    Thank the crumbling walls. They contained the clues that brought you here. To me Heath Castle will always remain a symbol of mystery and romance.” Indeed the story of Heath Castle not only had mystery in itself but also a lot of romance ,a broken heart and two separated love-birds. The Mystery of Crumbling wall is 22nd edition in Nancy Drew mystery Series. This book had been authored by Mildred Benson and its a fine example of her adroit story-telling. One of the most beautiful stories from the s Thank the crumbling walls. They contained the clues that brought you here. To me Heath Castle will always remain a symbol of mystery and romance.” Indeed the story of Heath Castle not only had mystery in itself but also a lot of romance ,a broken heart and two separated love-birds. The Mystery of Crumbling wall is 22nd edition in Nancy Drew mystery Series. This book had been authored by Mildred Benson and its a fine example of her adroit story-telling. One of the most beautiful stories from the series. This story is unique in itself because of the romantic factor added to it.The english Castle ,A lost treasure and A stolen pearl ring all added to the charm of the mystery . This mystery was less action-filled and adventurous but still intriguing and captivating. The story starts with a missing dancer and also a potential hieress to a big fortune. The dancer must be located in time so as to prove her rightful inheritence. Nancy begins her quest to locate the dancer in order to help her impoverished sister and her little daughter Joan. But a lot of hurdles and sinister plotting lies between Nancy and her goal. Will she be able to achieve it before the time runs down? Overall a very nice and enjoyable read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Well, I met a woman who collects Nancy Drew books. I haven't read any in a long time. We exchanged favorite titles so I went to the library and got out my 2 favorites and hers. I read all three and they were better than I remembered. This was my absolute favorite from adolescent days. The descriptions of the estate was just as wonderful as I remembered. I was impressed that Nancy was an interesting young woman - not the pablum I kind of remembered. But I did notice the edits. She now drives a sp Well, I met a woman who collects Nancy Drew books. I haven't read any in a long time. We exchanged favorite titles so I went to the library and got out my 2 favorites and hers. I read all three and they were better than I remembered. This was my absolute favorite from adolescent days. The descriptions of the estate was just as wonderful as I remembered. I was impressed that Nancy was an interesting young woman - not the pablum I kind of remembered. But I did notice the edits. She now drives a sports car (still a convertible), not the "roadster" of the books I read oh so long ago. And is George the first model of gayness for young women?

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nicki

    When I want to escape for a few hours there is no where better to lose yourself than a Nancy Drew book.Easy to read,usually plenty of dangerous situations that you know Nancy will get out of some how.Yeah in the earlier mysteries you know who the bad guys are but who cares,you still can't beat a good Nancy Drew book and this mystery is one of my favourites. When I want to escape for a few hours there is no where better to lose yourself than a Nancy Drew book.Easy to read,usually plenty of dangerous situations that you know Nancy will get out of some how.Yeah in the earlier mysteries you know who the bad guys are but who cares,you still can't beat a good Nancy Drew book and this mystery is one of my favourites.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Josiah

    I was actually really surprised with this Nancy Drew. It’s such a heartwarming story of suspense. Nancy is helping a lady and her daughter who’s sister disappeared. The sister was a dancer, and was going to inherit a large mansion and large sum of money. Nancy looks for the missing dancer. The end is so heartwarming, this book is hard to put down!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Greta

    Probably the most romantic Nancy Drew ever. Not so campy as some, but high marks for atmosphere, romance, and imagery. Solid mystery and love combination made this a very piognant Nancy Drew.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joy Gerbode

    Once again enjoyed this one ... especially the Cinderella references, as I am a big Cinderella buff. Delightful, easy afternoon read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    John Yelverton

    Yet another excellent addition to the Nancy Drew mystery book series.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Deb Sharp

    I remember doing a book review on this Nancy Drew Mystery when I was 12 years old!

  22. 5 out of 5

    David Allen Hines

    This is a good solid classic Nancy Drew adventure. Nancy is asked to search for a missing dancer, who stands to lose a large inheritance if she does not claim it by a deadline. The estate's attorney seems more interested in taking his own advantage of the estate than in locating the heir, while the heir's sister lives in poverty and misses her sibling. The estate includes an old castle type manorhouse and a decayed factory and it turns out the owner had been inventing some rare dyes and left a s This is a good solid classic Nancy Drew adventure. Nancy is asked to search for a missing dancer, who stands to lose a large inheritance if she does not claim it by a deadline. The estate's attorney seems more interested in taking his own advantage of the estate than in locating the heir, while the heir's sister lives in poverty and misses her sibling. The estate includes an old castle type manorhouse and a decayed factory and it turns out the owner had been inventing some rare dyes and left a secret hidden in a wall in the property. Nancy explores the estate while the bad lawyer tries to subvert her and find the secret in the wall himself. This book has aged well and still reads as a plausible story any fan of the series will enjoy. The cover art is also very nice. The original story dates from the 1940s and was rewritten to "modernize" it in the 1960s so the original tale may be worth reading too.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Laura (Reading is a Doing Word)

    This edition is the Original Text. I enjoyed this story. Nancy is steered towards a mystery by a local policewoman. A down on their luck family search for their missing sister/auntie, a famous ballerina who has disappeared. If she's not found within 3 weeks to claim a local estate as inheritance then they will lose out. Nancy explores the Heath Castle estate to find clues. She climbs crumbling walls, finds secret passaged and hidden cloisters. She's trapped in a tower and George has her clothes st This edition is the Original Text. I enjoyed this story. Nancy is steered towards a mystery by a local policewoman. A down on their luck family search for their missing sister/auntie, a famous ballerina who has disappeared. If she's not found within 3 weeks to claim a local estate as inheritance then they will lose out. Nancy explores the Heath Castle estate to find clues. She climbs crumbling walls, finds secret passaged and hidden cloisters. She's trapped in a tower and George has her clothes stolen, all while trying to outwit the villains....of course in the end she succeeds. This was a well constructed story. There was only one mystery and no outlandish coincidences. Nancy put in a good deal of effort to track down clues. I enjoyed it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Moonkiszt

    Nancy and her buddies, George and Bess have adventures in the overgrown Heath Castle, as they try and find multiple treasures left by the former owner. Stakes are raised as the estate deadline draws near and the girls and Mr. Drew are looking for the missing heiress. This might be a top ND mystery for me as it was a tad more complex, and the writing was clearly updated to an era that takes into account my sensibilities. More palatable. 3.5 stars rounded up. Off to #23!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Peter Clark

    I first read this book when I was a kid. It was one of my favorite Nancy Drew stories.I have since read this a few times as an adult. It holds up very well. The mood of the story and the details are very clear add so much to this mystery. You feel as if you are there with Nancy, Bess and George at the estate. Please note I am talking about the original text not the revised edition from the seventies. It is a very fun read and one of the best in the whole series.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I must be in some kind of a reading slump, since it took me four days to read this, lol. This was another typical Nancy Drew mystery. Sorry Nancy, but that's all the time I have to write a review today haha. Maybe I'll update this later. I must be in some kind of a reading slump, since it took me four days to read this, lol. This was another typical Nancy Drew mystery. Sorry Nancy, but that's all the time I have to write a review today haha. Maybe I'll update this later.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    A cold case involving a missing dancer, a crumbling castle, tricky riddles, and more! A really fun and exciting mystery for Nancy--and I really like that it was on a time-crunch: just three weeks to solve a 10 year old disappearance! Nothing Nancy Drew can't handle! A cold case involving a missing dancer, a crumbling castle, tricky riddles, and more! A really fun and exciting mystery for Nancy--and I really like that it was on a time-crunch: just three weeks to solve a 10 year old disappearance! Nothing Nancy Drew can't handle!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bargain Sleuth Book Reviews

    For this and other book reviews, visit www.bargain-sleuth.com I’m chugging along reading both the Original Text and Revised Text of the Nancy Drew Mystery stories. This week’s book, The Clue in the Crumbling Wall, was first written in 1945, and was revised in 1973. There were no major re-writes for this story, as there were for several of the early volumes. “A sprawling estate was willed to a dancer who has vanished several years earlier. During their investigation at Heath Castle, Nancy, Bess and For this and other book reviews, visit www.bargain-sleuth.com I’m chugging along reading both the Original Text and Revised Text of the Nancy Drew Mystery stories. This week’s book, The Clue in the Crumbling Wall, was first written in 1945, and was revised in 1973. There were no major re-writes for this story, as there were for several of the early volumes. “A sprawling estate was willed to a dancer who has vanished several years earlier. During their investigation at Heath Castle, Nancy, Bess and George realize that its crumbling walls contain a secret, but what is it? They search for clues in the neglected gardens of the vast estate, hoping to find a lead to the missing woman. Danger lurks in a castle tower and throughout the vine-tangled grounds as Nancy exposes a sinister plot to defraud the dancer of her inheritance.” The Clue in the Crumbling Wall is dated, no matter what version you read. I mean, who ever heard of a door-to-door clam salesman? Maybe there still are some in small coastal towns, but I doubt it. And in the OT, a big deal is made out of finding a pearl and how valuable it could be. Freshwater pearls have never been that valuable, otherwise my very poor grandmother never would have had several strings of them. In the RT, it’s mentioned that the pearls aren’t worth that much. The mystery, surrounding a missing dancer (she left on vacation to parts unknown and never returned) and a man who bequeathed his estate to a woman who had already been missing for five years at the time of his death (the will was made after her disappearance, which is another oddity: why would you leave property to someone who disappeared?) leads Nancy and her chums to Heath Castle, which is very much run down in the past five years since Walter Heath’s death. The vegetation is overgrown and the walls are falling apart. But as Nancy, Bess and George discover, the walls aren’t succumbing to normal wear and tear, suspicious men are chipping away at the walls, searching for something. The missing woman’s inheritance is being mismanaged by a shady lawyer who is the executor of the estate. There’s also a mystery of a missing dye process that Walter Heath was working on but no one knew if he ever perfected it. Oh, and Nancy has to find the missing woman in three weeks, or the estate will be turned into a park (OT) or sold and monies given to charities (RT). It’s not a mystery why the missing dancer hadn’t been looked for before as her younger sister is very poor and can not afford a detectives. Good thing Nancy works for free! Besides, the estate lawyer kept telling the sister that he hired people to look for the missing woman, but the sister suspects that’s not true. It wouldn’t be a Nancy Drew book unless she was knocked out, which happens when there’s an explosion in Heath’s old button-making factory. Bess is also knocked out when the girls’ rented boat is rammed by another boat. In the RT, there’s an attempted kidnapping, and Hannah is bound and gagged. In both versions, there’s a female police officer, which I was happy to see. The description of her in the OT, however, was laughable. “Lieutenant Masters was a charming woman; not the least masculine despite her businesslike manner.” So, apparently, if you’re a female police officer in the 1940’s, generally speaking you’re on the more masculine side according to the author. Lt. Masters plays a role in Nancy’s mysteries and I for one was happy to see another smart female portrayed. It was only a few books prior that the police were portrayed in a positive light; before that they were seen as useless and bumbling, and refused to believe Nancy or take her seriously. The ladies try exploring the Heath estate several times. Guard dogs have been put at the estate, and while Nancy and George charm the beasts, they raise a racket when a very scared Bess tries to approach, so she decides to stay in the car. In something that could only happen to George, while exploring the grounds, she slips and falls into something like a man-made pond. There’s an old tool shed nearby so Nancy suggests George strip down and Nancy will dry her clothes by laying them on rocks in the sun. Then Nancy decides to do some exploring and leaves George in the shed. Nancy ends up getting locked into one of the towers by the bad guys. Bess is left fuming and George sees a kid run off with her clothes. In the OT, Bess eventually rescues George with a raincoat; George’s shoes were luckily left behind. In the RT, Bess finds George’s pants and gives her the sweater she was wearing because she has a blouse underneath. Nancy is able to sneak out of the tower when a man enters and leaves the door open. Meanwhile, Nancy drives to nearby towns with her father in search of the elusive missing woman. They pick up some clues and drive to another nearby town where Nancy hits a dead end. But not long later, Carson Drew finds a lead and the next thing you know, Nancy and her dad are heading to another town about 1/2 an hour away to find the missing woman. Except she’s not there. Her employees say a government man took her away for not paying taxes. Nancy and her dad just know that can’t possibly be true: the missing woman has been kidnapped! While this is happening, a woman who looks enough like the missing dancer appears, courtesy the shady executor of the estate. She’s a married South American woman with dark hair and large feet. This is an important clue, because the missing dancer had tiny feet. In the OT, the sister doesn’t really confirm or deny that the woman is an imposter until after Nancy and she leave the woman. In the RT, she outright comes out and says “You’re not my sister!” The ending of the book changes a little between the OT and the RT, with Nancy and various helpers getting locked up in the cellar of the castle with the missing woman, whom they had just found. Luckily, the police had been informed where they were going and are able to rescue everyone. The crooked lawyer and his henchman are arrested, and the missing woman is reunited with her sister. As Nancy learned through her investigations, the dancer was hit by a car on her way to her vacation and was left disabled. In the OT, she’s in a wheelchair, but in the RT, she’s just described as “lame.” She didn’t want anyone to see her and pity her, so she took some money and bought a produce farm in the OT, and in the RT, she buys a flower gardening shop. The crooked lawyer stole pretty much all the assets of the estate, but Nancy’s discoveries lead to the reopening of the factory behind the castle. In both versions, the former dancer, her sister and her daughter plan to live on the estate and welcome handicapped children to enjoy the grounds. In the RT, a year passes before Nancy and the gang return to see all the work done on the estate. The Clue in the Crumbling Wall was just the right amount of mystery and sleuthing for me. Both versions were good. The names were changed for several characters between the OT and the RT, but the story, for the most part, remains the same. Just the ending is changed up a little, and I think I preferred the RT’s ending a little better because it made more sense.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Suzie

    Nancy is tasked with finding a dancer, named Juliana, who disappeared many years ago at the height of her career. Her fiancé at the time, Walt Heath, has passed away and left his vast estate to Juliana. But she has to claim the fortune within 5 years of his death, or the estate will go to various charities. There are 3 weeks left to find Juliana and Nancy Drew is desperately searching for the missing dancer.  Okay I loved this book! Nancy has one mystery to solve which was great. There were no co Nancy is tasked with finding a dancer, named Juliana, who disappeared many years ago at the height of her career. Her fiancé at the time, Walt Heath, has passed away and left his vast estate to Juliana. But she has to claim the fortune within 5 years of his death, or the estate will go to various charities. There are 3 weeks left to find Juliana and Nancy Drew is desperately searching for the missing dancer.  Okay I loved this book! Nancy has one mystery to solve which was great. There were no convoluted subplots and unnecessary situations. And in a nice change of pace, Nancy is not rescued by Ned . In fact, Ned is apparently in South America on a college trip. Which also means, no Dave and Burt either. The cousins, Bess and George, do appear though. Helping Nancy investigate whenever necessary. One thing I didn’t like? The mystery’s resolution.  Nancy is unsatisfied by the conclusion of the case. And I am too. It wasn’t the usual happily ever after that these books always have. Yes, all the characters are happy in the end. But. I don’t know. It was a bit underwhelming. Realistic though. (Probably why I didn’t like it, haha). Another deviation from the norm, is the flash forward. Like I said, the ending of the case isn’t quite satisfactory. I guess in an attempt to remedy that, there is a fast forward to a year later. Everyone is happy, healthy and flourishing. Which I am thrilled about.  Overall, an enjoyable read. There were a few funny scenes. And at one point I got serious An Affair to Remember vibes which was a bit depressing. But I loved this story. It was different.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gerard Patrick

    When Nancy Drew becomes involved in a case where a dancer went missing ten years ago, clues lead her and her friends to the haunting HEATH CASTLE. They become aware that thieves are exploiting the estate and its crumbling walls. Who are they and why? And what is the lawyer in charge of the estate doing about it? Nancy and her friends are pretty sure that the lawyer is not making any effort in finding the missing dancer. Danger lurks in the castle and its towers. The girl's gripping adventures en When Nancy Drew becomes involved in a case where a dancer went missing ten years ago, clues lead her and her friends to the haunting HEATH CASTLE. They become aware that thieves are exploiting the estate and its crumbling walls. Who are they and why? And what is the lawyer in charge of the estate doing about it? Nancy and her friends are pretty sure that the lawyer is not making any effort in finding the missing dancer. Danger lurks in the castle and its towers. The girl's gripping adventures end their most baffling mystery as it ends with a dramatic confession of the whole scheme which will hold all Nancy Drew fans in suspense.

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