Nancy Drew: The Mystery at Lilac Inn


I felt like reading a good Halloween book, so I made my way down to Pioneer Book and started perusing for good ghost stories.

The trouble is, I’m picky. Like, super picky. I don’t want gore. Or graphic violence. Or graphic sex. Or graphic language. I’m looking for a good, old-fashioned ghost story. Not a slasher. Just ghosts. Kind of a gothic horror-type. Just a good mystery, and some good haunting, but nothing that’s actually going to make me scared to look in the mirror.

So I eventually gave up and picked up a Nancy Drew book, just for old times’ sake. (Okay, I also picked up a few other books, but I read this one first.)

When I was about 8 years old, I remember going to the school library and checking out the same Nancy Drew book several weeks in a row – it was the one with the creepiest illustration on the front. Also, it was the one I never seemed to finish. I don’t remember whether I was too scared, or whether I was just reading slowly.

Anyways, I was excited to relive the excitement with The Mystery at Lilac Inn. (This one had the best illustration on the front cover. Some things never change.) Within the first chapter, however, I remembered something: this is cheesy.

Like, super cheesy. Like, on a scale from Brie to Sharp Cheddar, this thing is the Cheesasaurus Rex. And then I remembered that “Carolyn Keene” was actually just the pseudonym for about a dozen ghost-writers, so they couldn’t have much personal voice in their writing, or people would catch on that the series was being mass-produced.

And, you know, it still took me down Memory Lane. I had a blast, remembering how much I loved these books when I was a little girl. But I’m not exactly planning on buying the whole series anytime soon.

I would not recommend this book (or its series) to any adult who’s never read them. I would recommend them, however, to someone who wants to reread some old favorites.

I would also recommend this to just about any girl under 10, or any boy under 10 who’s willing to put up with the descriptions of the girls’ pretty dresses. There’s still an action-mystery element that would be attractive to anyone looking for a tame mystery. No death, murder, adultery, etc. – just catching the bad guys, one clue at a time. So if you’re not quite old enough to handle Agatha Christie, this is for you. ♦


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