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Nancy Drew Files Guest Appearance by Carolyn Keene

Book name: Nancy Drew Files Guest Appearance

Author: Carolyn Keene

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Format: print

Genre: Detective fiction, vintage children’s fiction

Publication Date: 1992

Star Rating: 4/5


Guest Appearance is a 3-in-1 volume featuring the stories 'Vanishing Act', 'Bad Medicine' and 'Over the Edge'. The Nancy Drew Files were a continuation of the much-loved children's detective fiction into modern day, with Nancy now grown up and working full time as a detective.


Rather like James Bond, Hercule Poirot and other long-term heroes of fiction, Nancy is located in the present day of publication without ever ageing, she simply adapts to a modern world every time a new book appears.


In 'Vanishing Act', Nancy is thrown into the world of the pop video, a source of fairly current excitement when the book was published due to the launch of MTV.


She is asked to look into the disappearance of pop idol Jesse Slade three years earlier and goes under cover as a guest 'veejay' working at a music TV station in Los Angeles who often featured him.


Nancy is now a grown adult and fully independent of the father who was a strong guiding presence in the original children's books. Her best friends George and Bess are still with her, however, and in a shift away from a childlike innocence Ned Nickerson is now her boyfriend.


In 'Bad Medicine', student Ned (who never struck me as quite smart enough to carry off studying medicine) is getting some work experience at the Westmoor University Medical School.


A good friend of his, Trevor Callahan (a second-year resident), is accused of almost killing one patient through negligence and actually hastening the death of another out of compassion for his suffering.


Nancy herself points out that the latter act is still murder and sets about finding the real culprit, since Ned is certain that Trevor is not capable of either negligently or deliberately putting his patients at risk.


'Bad Medicine' absolutely captured the feel of newly adults, either still students or resident doctors, dealing with complex moral and legal situations and exhibiting the confidence to do so themselves without falling back on authority figures. This was an incredibly satisfying aspect of the story.


In some ways it felt very odd to see Nancy as an adult living in a modern world. I enjoyed the stories, but felt that the updating lost something because my favourite aspects of Nancy Drew stories were that they were retro when I was a kid in the Seventies.


They are now an exercise in nostalgia for anyone my age, and that Nancy was a kid who nevertheless tracked down criminals and solved mysteries. It felt a lot more run of the mill to see an adult solving crimes this way.


There was something timeless in the original Nancy Drew stories, true of all the best children's fiction. However, the Nancy Drew Files felt a little more grounded in the moment.


That was a good thing, given the young adult audience to which it was pitched. But it did mean that they didn't quite age so well. That's the trade off sometimes.


I still enjoyed the Nancy Drew Files Guest Appearance very much indeed, and I look forward to reading more of the books in this series.


They were very well written, and the stories were pitched just right for a teen audience wanting something contemporary. There was plenty of action, something that was a feature of the original mysteries when Nancy was often plunged into real physical danger.


Plus Nancy was still an absolute star. This volume had much to offer regardless of my personal preference for the original stories. It was lovely to see more of Nancy grown up and to expand the number of books to share more and more of her exploits with loyal fans.


Thank you for reading my review of the Nancy Drew Files Guest Appearance by Carolyn Keene. I'll be back on Wednesday. In the meantime, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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If you’ve enjoyed this review, you might be interested reading in my review of The Nancy Drew Mysteries by Carolyn Keene.


Or you might like to take a look at my review of Greenwitch by Susan Cooper.


If you fancy something different, you might like to take a chance on my review of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

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