Thursday, February 2, 2012

Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Shark Submarine

OK, before I say anything about this book, I first have to ask this question: did you know that the Nancy Drew mysteries are all supposed to take place in the midwest? I have ALWAYS had Nancy pegged as a New England girl...from her party dresses and houndstooth coats to her ladies luncheons and sleek convertible (which must, at all times, be referred to as a convertible, even if the top is up. Never, under any circumstances, is it to be called a "car.") Now that I've gotten that off my chest, I'm ready to move on and discuss my latest Nancy Drew read: The Mystery at Lilac Inn!

My sister, Erin, actually read this one right around the same time I did, and we didn't even plan it! This was super helpful for when I needed to send late night text messages that simply said something like "OMG shark submarine???" It was a comfort to know that she knew EXACTLY what I was talking about.

So this adventure of Nancy's begins with her canoeing down the beautiful Muskoka River with her friend, Helen. When I first saw Helen's name, I immediately started to feel a little panicky--where were her usual sidekicks, George and Bess? I flipped ahead and found that, sadly, they aren't in this book. It was disappointing, I must say. Sort of like trying to watch an episode of The Facts of Life without Jo or Natalie. (Ew...imagine it: just Blair, Tootie, and Mrs. G. Worst episode ever.)

This disappointment was not long-lasted, though, since Nancy and Helen capsize their canoe on page 3. And Nancy Drew capsizing a boat of any form is always one of my favorite things. (I always wonder, how long does it take for her to style her hair after she's been dunked?)

True to the Nancy Drew formula, this book really delivers. Right off the bat, we are told that Nancy has an impostor (someone has stolen her charge plate and bought all sorts of stuff at a department store!). And her friend at Lilac Inn, Emily, has been having all sorts of strange and mysterious problems! What ensues is wonderfully improbable melange of events: ghost sitings, secret doors, diamond-stealing, skin-diving dates (good thing Nancy has a spare aqua lung!). And of course, there are many many near death experiences: Nancy is nearly driven off of a cliff in her convertible, her friend Helen gets clubbed in the back of the head, their bungalow gets EXPLODED with a time bomb, Nancy gets a spear shot at her head underwater (her underwater camera prevents it from STABBING HER FACE).

But best of all, Nancy gets kidnapped in a SHARK SUBMARINE. In fact, why didn't they just call it Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Shark Submarine?

While I was envisioning this shark submarine, I must admit that I had something like the photo above in mind. Except, of course, the one above is not a true submarine, and Nancy's kidnapper's submarine full-on submerged. Oh, also, it was built in a garage. (Yeah right.)
I also imagine Nancy's captor looking like this guy above. And Nancy in the back just like this, only she was probably frowning. 

But as Erin so rightly pointed out, why would you make a shark submarine to go in a river?? Shouldn't it have been a beaver submarine? Or perhaps a trout? It also begs the question: how freaking deep is this river? Which then led to a web search of the Muskoka River, which is where this tale allegedly takes place. In fact, there is no Muskoka River in the U.S., but there is one in Ontario, and, well, it actually looks quite a bit like what I've imagined in my head, so I thought I'd include some photos here. Like this place on the Muskoka that looks so much like something that could be called Lilac Inn. And it even has shark submarine docking!
And can't you imagine racing your shark submarine down this slice of peaceful heaven?
Seriously, the shark submarine is the best part about this book. Totally worth it.

One last thing: Erin is firmly of the opinion that Nancy is a total ass. When I saw Erin last weekend, we had a chance to discuss exactly what she finds so ass-y about Nancy. (I mean, I find her kind of obnoxious in many ways--she likes to break antiques and trespasses frequently, and she always takes all the credit for the mystery being solved, though she has MANY helpers.) Erin, in searching for an explanation, said it best: when Helen got hit on the back of the head and someone blew up her cottage and tried to kill her--in the same night!--Nancy never once said, "Helen, would you maybe like to go home?" Or even "Would you like an aspirin?"

Yeah, I guess that's some pretty ass-y behavior. Or rather bad-ass-y behavior! After all, when Nancy's on the case, she's got a one-track mind, and quitting the case is for total sissies.

1 comment:

  1. Instead of asking if Helen wanted an aspirin, Nancy told Helen that she'd need some new clothes. Since all of Helen's other clothes BLEW UP IN THE TIME-BOMB EXPLOSION. Seriously, she's an asshole.

    And also, the shark sub is by far the best part of that plot -- perhaps of any Nancy Drew plot ever, actually. (Those photos really do look like great places to dock/race a shark sub!)