The Secret Of the Old Clock : Carolyn Keene

The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew, #1)The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s interesting to consider just how old this series is now. The Secret of the Old Clock, the first in the mythic Nancy Drew series, was originally published in 1930 with a substantial revision in 1959. That’s a fair while, even for me who quite enjoys the more ancient side of children’s literature. Yet this edition of The Secret of The Old Clock is fresh, breezy and reads rather as if it could have been written yesterday. There’s still a space for this ferociously girl-positive novel, even when you pause to consider and dissect its Blytonian morals and broad paintbrush approach to society’s morals.

Nancy Drew herself is a delightfully persistent girl with nothing better to do than wander around and solve mysteries, and occasionally deliver papers to her father’s clients. She’s one of those characters that makes a thousand points of sense within a book and yet, outside of it, is so rampantly confusing that you can’t quite figure out where to begin. But you believe her, and this book takes you with her, every step along the way. Yes, The Secret of The Old Clock blithely trots from crisis to crisis and Nancy skips from problem to resolution without barely messing up her hair, but you do not stop reading. It’s kind of fascinating to realise how purely, vividly readable this book still is.

As I said earlier, there’s a space for Nancy Drew in the contemporary world of children’s literature and that space is this: alongside Robin Stevens, Clementine Beauvais, Katherine Woodfine, because Nancy is still awesome. Horrendous, too, in a myriad of ways, but underneath it all, still pretty fabulous.

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2 thoughts on “The Secret Of the Old Clock : Carolyn Keene

  1. I was addicted to Nancy Drew in my early teens. Much like the Chalet School, she seemed to get herself knocked out or in a traumatic situation in every book, but was blithe and breezy by the end – I loved the drama of it all. I’d like to read the original 1930s versions of the stories, because I understand they were heavily altered in some cases.

    The Secret in the Old Attic was the first I read, and remained my favourite.

    • Yes, I’m intrigued about the editing process too. I must hunt some of the originals out. Also you’re right – they are so Chalet School in vibe! I can’t believe I didn’t see it šŸ˜€

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