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The Secret in the Old Attic (Nancy Drew, Book 21) Hardcover – January 1, 1955
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From the Back Cover
Nancy Drew races against time to unravel the clues in a dead man's letters. If she succeeds, Philip March and his little granddaughter can be saved from financial ruin. Following the obscure clues, Nancy undertakes a search for some unpublished musical manuscripts which she believes are hidden in the dark, cluttered attic of the rundown March mansion. But someone else wants them enough to put many frightening obstacles in Nancy's way.
About the Author
Carolyn Keene is a pen name used by a variety of authors for the classic Nancy Drew Mystery series. The first author to use the pseudonym was Mildred Wirt Benson, who wrote 23 of the original 30 books. Other writers who have adapted the "Carolyn Keene" moniker include Leslie McFarlane, James Duncan Lawrence, Walter Karig, and Nancy Axelrod.
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Top Customer Reviews
By Carolyn Keene
Reviewed by Patricia A. Guthrie
Hercule Poirot, Miss Jane Marple, Lord Peter Whimsey, Nero Wolfe, Ellery Queene, Nancy Drew. . . . Nancy Drew? Yes, Nancy Drew. Teenage girls' favorite first detective. A teenage sleuth who's stood the test of time.
". . . an elderly gray-haired gentleman of soldierly baring, disheveled and half-starved, stolen musical manuscripts, a lost child, an old attic full of treasures, poisonous spiders and a stolen formula for manufacturing material are only some of the challenges Nancy Drew faces in number twenty-one of the Nancy Drew Mystery Stories "The Secret in the Old Attic."
Nancy's father, lawyer Carson Drew often gives mystery cases to his talented sleuth of a daughter. This time, the clues are hidden in a packet of love letters. Her directive? Find the whereabouts of some music composed by the elderly soldier Phillip March's son. Convinced the manuscripts are being stolen, Nancy starts out on the case of the missing music. Living in a run-down mansion in River Heights, Mr. March is down on his luck and his finances. This music will help him raise his granddaughter, Susan, and bring the mansion back to its former glory.
The only problem, someone else is looking for the music, also. The songs are appearing on the popular musical radio stations and Mr. March can't prove they were written by his son.
Meanwhile, Mr. Drew takes on another case. One where the formula for a unique material is being reproduced by another company. Clues discovered indicate the two cases might be tied together like the blue ribbon around the love letters. But, If so, how? Then, Mr. March's granddaughter comes up missing, from her baby sitter's house. Nancy's beau, Ned, disappears from the scene, and she discovers he's taking the rival company's daughter to the River Heights dance (whatever happened to Ned's telegram to Nancy asking her to the dance?) and poisonous spiders and an old skeleton pop up in the old attic where Nancy believes the manuscript is hidden. Neither spider is indigenous to the region. Someone has planted them to disable the teenage sleuth.
This story is fascinating to read on one level for teenage girls and on several for adults. Composed in 1944 and revised and edited years later, she's still popular and the stories still fresh.
What's interesting is there is no such person as Carolyn Keene.
Information obtained from the Nancy Drew website [...] explains that her name is a "pen name used by many different people- both men and women- over the years. The company that was the creator of the Nancy Drew series, the Stratemeyer Syndicate, hired a variety of writers. For Nancy Drew, the writers used the pseudonym Carolyn Keene to assure anonymity of the creator.
"Edna and Harriet Stratemeyer inherited the company from their father Edward Stratemeyer. Edna contributed 10 plot outlines before passing the reins to her sister. While Harriet is often credited as Carolyn Keene, several other authors assumed the pseudonym of Carolyn Keene. Starting in 1953, Harriet authored 24 volumes. In 1959, Harriet, along with several writers, began a 25-year project to revise the earlier Carolyn Keene novels. The Nancy Drew books were condensed, racial stereotypes were removed, and the language was updated. In a few cases, outdated plots were completely rewritten.
"Other writers of Nancy Drew volumes include Mildred Wirt Benson who created 23 novels, including the first three Nancy Drew novels. The role of the writer of "Carolyn Keene" passed temporarily to Walter Karig who wrote three novels during the Great Depression. Also contributing to Nancy Drew's prolific existence were Leslie McFarlane, James Duncan Lawrence, Nancy Axelrod, Priscilla Doll, Charles Strong, Alma Sasse, Wilhelmina Rankin, George Waller Jr., and Margaret Scherf. "
It's widely believed that Carolyn Keene was hired to write the Nancy Drew stories and made very little for her efforts. But, few realize that there never was a Carolyn Keene and that she was a multitude of authors.
Another interesting feature, when reading Nancy Drew stories back-to-back, stylistically they are all similar and could have easily been written by the same author.
The stories, including "The Secret in the Old Attic" are still fun and fresh to read. They include characters worth meeting and mysteries worth solving.
Even though the writing style, in general, is old-fashioned, there are some passages, "The man's skin was sallow, and his eyes appeared as green as the chemical solution in one of the vats," that can be brilliant.
Nancy Drew should be a fresh for the next generation as she has been for this one, the last one and the one before that.
Reviewed by: Patricia A. Guthrie
I felt this mystery had a perfect balance of intrigue, close friends, action, and hard working detective work. But I felt there was something missing.
Characters: There isn't a large cast of characters which makes the mystery a downer but I think the main characters like, Susan were a real joy. I seem to be confused to why they- the writers would fail to mention Effie, one of the servants I guess for the Drews shows up in this case.
Action/Adventure: There was a few startling scenes but I felt there wasn't enough action to keep you guessing.
Overall: This book wasn't my favorite, even though it had some of the key elements in the series, like, intrigue, and characters, made this case a wonderful edition to the Nancy Drew Mysteries Stories.
Aubrey's Rating System (3/5)
Thank you for viewing my review, and keep reading!