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Nancy Drew Mystery Stories : The Secret of The Old Clock and The Hidden Staircase Hardcover – September 2, 1987

4.5 out of 5 stars 541 customer reviews

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  • Nancy Drew Mystery Stories : The Secret of The Old Clock and The Hidden Staircase
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Summer 2005 (Volume XLVIII, Number 2, pp 248-250) Cover Story Septuagenarian Nancy Drew Still Solving Mysteries (Photo of The Hidden Staircase) ""Since 1991, Applewood Books has been publishing exact replicas of the Original Nancy Drew Mystery Series from the 1930s--twenty to date. The originals feature a sixteen-year-old Nancy who was a bit more independent than her 1950s ""revised version"" who was eighteen and much more demure.""
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

Read by Laura Linney
3 hours, 14 minutes
2 cassettes

Nance Drew's keen mind is tested when she searches for a missing will. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap; Back-to-back Ed edition (September 2, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044809570X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0448095707
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.2 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (541 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,180,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Written by Mildred Wirt Benson from an outline by Edward Stratemeyer, THE SECRET OF THE OLD CLOCK was first published in 1930. It was the first book in the Nancy Drew series, and it and those that followed presented its heroine as a rich, headstrong, and distinctly reckless teenager who sometimes carried a pistol and who wasn't above breaking the law when it suited her purposes.

As the series progressed and other writers began to generate Nancy Drew novels, the character changed and Nancy was "toned down;" instead of flatly rich, she became reasonably affluent; recklessness was replaced by commonsense caution; and while she might be willing to bend the law a bit she would never knowingly break it. In the 1950s and 1960s the earlier novels were re-written to reflect this change in character.

THE SECRET OF THE OLD CLOCK was significantly rewritten in 1959, and the 1959 version is the only version currently in print. Given its era, you will find nothing in the way of cell phones, computers, or the like; Nancy's fashion sense includes gloves; and she always seems find time to whip up a credible meal from scratch for friends. This particular story finds Nancy involved in a search for a missing will. She is assisted in this by her father, who is a noted attorney, and by her older friend Helen Corning. (The re-occuring characters of George, Bess, and Ned do not appear in the earliest books.) As her investigation progresses she not only finds herself at odds with unworthy heirs, but confronting furniture thieves as well.
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Format: Hardcover
This particular edition of The Secret of the Old Clock is a reprint of the original, 1930 text and is NOT THE 1959 REVISION. An easy way to tell is by the cover art. If Nancy Drew is walking through the woods while holding a clock, it is the 1930 text. If she is kneeling down, it is the rewrite.
With this in mind, it is important to understand that there is an extensive section involving racial stereotypes concerning an African American character that some may find offensive. For this reason, this book, in my opinion, is not really suitable for younger children. However, adults and older children who are familar with the Nancy Drew series and have read the 1959 version of this book will certainly enjoy reading this original text.
Having read both the 1930 and the 1959 version, my personal opinion is that the 1930 version is the better book. Unlike in the rewrite, we gain more insight into why Nancy and the Topham sisters do not get along, for example. There is also better character development and these characters seem more authentic. The rewrite suffers somewhat in these respects and should have simply been rewritten to remove the offensive material while leaving the remaining text mostly intact.
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A Kid's Review on March 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
the first time i read this book, i couldn't put it down. it was so interesting. now i have the book and have read it a couple times now. i'm trying to collect the nancy drew hardbacks, and so far, i have #'s 1-15. but out of all the nancy drews that i've read, i think this one was one of the best. it's about nancy trying to find a missing will in a clock that will help nancy's friends receive money. there's so many suspenseful occurences in the book, and this is one of the best parts about it. if you love mysteries and nancy drew, then surely, you'll love this book.....also, if you're trying to collect the nancy drew hardbacks, then you should probably start out with this one, the very first one in the whole series. hope you like the book!
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Format: Hardcover
Written by Mildred Wirt Benson from an outline by Edward Stratemeyer, THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE was first published in 1930. It was the second book in the Nancy Drew series, and it and those that followed presented its heroine as a rich, headstrong, and distinctly reckless teenager who sometimes carried a pistol and who wasn't above breaking the law when it suited her purposes.

As the series progressed and other writers began to generate Nancy Drew novels, the character changed and Nancy was "toned down;" instead of flatly rich, she became reasonably affluent; recklessness was replaced by commonsense caution; and while she might be willing to bend the law a bit she would never knowingly break it. In the 1950s and 1960s the earlier novels were re-written to reflect this change in character. THE HIDDEN STAIRCASE was significantly rewritten in 1959.

In this particular story, Nancy is asked to investigate a supposed haunting at Twin Elms, a colonal mansion occupied by the elderly Miss Flora and her daughter Rosemary: not only have things gone bump in the night, jewelry has come up missing as well. She is assisted in this by her friend Helen, who is Rosemary's niece. Meanwhile Nancy's father, attorney Carson Drew, is working to defeat the shady dealings of the mysterious Mr. Gombet. Needless to say, before too long the two cases begin to link up.

The book is very much of its era: you will not find any cell phones, computers, or similar modern gadgets between its covers. Nancy herself is the "perfect good girl" according to the standards of the day: she tends toward skirts and jackets, wears gloves while gardening and for social occasion, and is never too busy to whip up a quick luncheon (chicken salad always seems to be a favorite) for family or friends.
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